Hips cover all homes from todayMinisters say move will help first time buyers

14 December 2007

A row of terrace houses

All homes with 4 or more bedrooms will now need a HIP

Home information packs (Hips) will cover all homes put on the market in England and Wales from today.

The controversial packs, which include energy performance certificates (EPCs), were initially introduced in August for homes of four bedrooms or more.

The following month they were rolled out to three-bedroom properties after ministers said enough assessors were in place to extend the scheme.

Now the packs will cover both one- and two-bedroom homes.

First time buyers

The government says first-time buyers will benefit from this latest move as they will now get important information about their new home for free.

Ministers say that Hips are generally taking seven to ten days to prepare and are costing, on average, between £300 and £350.

However, last month surveyors warned that the extra cost of the packs for sellers could lead to fewer 'starter homes' being put on the market.

The Conservatives have said they want to scrap Hips if they get into government, but they have said they will keep EPCs.

Earlier this week, Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps said Hips had introduced 'wasteful red tape and up-front costs' with 'little or no appreciable advantage to the buyer'.