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Home Information Pack News

Home Information Packs are suspended with immediate effect from 21 May 2010



Home information packs extended to three-bed homes

The government has anonced that it will extend the Home Information Pack scheme (Hips) to cover three-bedroom homes in England and Wales from 10 September 2007.

Scotland is set to get its own version of the Home iinformation pack in 2008.


The government has renewed its pledge to bring in Home Information Packs on August 1

The government has renewed its pledge to bring in Home Information Packs on August 1 in response to a motion to scrap the legislation brought by Baroness Hanham last week.

The House of Lords voted in favour of Hanham's motion, although the vote was non-fatal and therefore lacked the power to force the government's hand.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says HIPs are “a first step in reforming and improving the home-buying process, which is currently wasteful, stressful and opaque”.

It a response to the motion, the DCLG states: “We believe that the process needs to be more transparent and predictable, particularly for first-time buyers and that all consumers need to be able to rely on having key information before they commit to home purchase rather than later in the process.

“We also believe that the urgency of climate change and the need for consumers to have more information about reducing energy use and energy bills means that introducing Energy Performance Certificiates as part of the HIP will achieve this swiftly and reliably.

“In recent months and since the regulations were withdrawn on May 22, everything has been done to ensure a smooth introduction of HIPs and EPCs on August 1.

“Our implementation plans, announced on June 11, have been followed through.

“There are enough inspectors; the infrastructure is ready; the industry is prepared; and consumers are anticipating the change.”

The government says there is no reason for further delay and reiterates that HIPs will be brought in for homes with four or more bedrooms on August 1, to be rolled out to the remainder of the market at a later date



The House of Lords has voted against the implementation of Home Information Packs.

Baroness Hanham's non-fatal motion before the Lords to try and scrap HIPs meet with approval in the Lords, with 186 backing her motion against 160.

Although the government can disregard this vote, they would be proceeding against the express advice of Parliament.

During the debate Hanham urged the House to reconsider the scheme. She told her fellow peers: “HIPs are a con, they are a million miles from what the government first devised. The government has kept pushing a ridiculous policy that will not work.

“The mangled mandatory pack will cost the home buyer even more money - particularly the first-time buyer, for which the government invented the pack in the first place.

"Whatever the price, we can be sure the seller will just add it to the value of the home - the buyer will lose out."

But Labour peers defended the policy by citing figures from the Association of Home Information Pack Providers claiming the government is one accredited assessor short of being able to impose HIPs on three-bedroom houses.

The defendants also outlined plans that will allow homes to be marketed without a HIP up to December 31, as long as the pack had been applied for.

One Labour peer said: “This will ease up any initial bumps in the market - HIPs will improve the home buying experience for all and must be implemented for the good of the housing industry and the home buying consumers.”

Hanham also called for the government to take the Energy Performance Certificate and make it a standalone policy.

She said: “We would gladly support EPC's as a fresh initiative as they are the only part of the pack of any value. The government should do everyone a favour and abandon HIPs.”

Labour peers argued that separating the EPC from the HIP would prove a costly and drawn out process.

They argued EPC's have worked in test areas within the HIP, and were confident that they would work on a national scale.



Hips revisions slammed by industry

Nicola York - 12-Jun-2007

Ministers were accused of exacerbating the "chaotic" situation surrounding home information packs after revised regulations were released yesterday by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The National Association of Estate Agents says the revisions are confusing and called the proposals "ill-thought out".

The Government has confirmed that there will be three stages for the implementation of HIPs with the first commencing on August 1 and applying to properties with four or more bedrooms.

This will be followed by a second and third phase covering three bedroom properties and then all other properties as soon as there are enough domestic energy assessors to cope with demand.

NAEA chief executive Peter Bolton King says: “The already chaotic situation surrounding HIPs appears to be getting even worse. The idea of three separate phases will cause complete confusion and delay the introduction of the important energy performance certificate.

“The NAEA continues to be dismayed that despite criticism of the proposals from Parliament, the industry, the media and the public, the CLG is continuing to push forward with these ill-thought out proposals.

“We once again urge the government to separate the EPC from the rest of the HIP to allow for its rapid introduction, and then to scrap the remainder of the Pack. Following that, the government should sit down with the industry to work out a sensible way of improving the home buying and selling process."

Easier2move sales and marketing director Karen Babington says: "Admittedly HIPs have become somewhat of a movable feast recently but the lack of firm timings for the introduction of these packs will continue to affect the markets confidence in their ultimate introduction. This will - in turn - reduce the amount of investment from interested companies and thus set the process back even further.

"We call on the Government to rectify this state of uncertainty as soon as possible and allow companies – such as ourselves – to get on with the business of providing these packs to consumers."

But others welcomed the proposals saying they brought clarity to the situation.

AHIPP director general Mike Ockenden says: “Ruth Kelly has today provided much needed clarity for consumers, the Hip industry and energy assessors and she has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the future of HIPs. Industry now has a structured implementation plan that offers HIP providers and energy assessors an opportunity to plan more confidently for the future.

“We now call upon all industries that touch the home buying and selling process to get behind the implementation of HIPs, in order to deliver the benefits to home sellers and buyers."



The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' judicial review is the only thing standing in the way of Home Information Packs.

Yesterday, the majority of ministers in the House of Commons voted against a motion calling for HIP regulations to be annulled.

And next Tuesday the House of Lords will meet to debate and vote HIPs following a motion tabled by Baroness Handam which calls on the government to revoke the HIP regulations until further consultation can take place.

The Lords vote is a non-fatal amendment, meaning that even if the Lords back it the government can effectively ignore their vote, and the statutory instrument on HIPs will still come into law on June 1.

The motion is non-fatal because of its wording - as political experts point out Baroness Handam could have tabled a fatal motion but the House of Lords avoid killing off statutory instruments which would rubbish primary legislation passed by the Commons.

However, RIC's judicial review, which could be heard by the High Court as soon as next week, could pose a problem for HIPs if the judge involved agree that more consultation is needed.


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