The new coalition government has today announced an immediate end to the use of home information packs (HIPs).
Homeowners wishing to put their property on the market will no longer need to provide a HIP for potential borrowers, but will still be required to have an energy performance certificate for their home (EPC) under EU law.
Home information packs
HIPs were brought in by the last government in 2007, and were designed to speed up the process of selling a home. Pushing property sellers to give buyers more information about their homes up-front was intended to make swifter agreements and quicker transactions possible.
However, HIPs were strongly criticised by estate agents and property sellers for adding extra paperwork to the process of putting a home on the market, plus the up-front cost of the home information pack to sellers. Typically, HIPs cost several hundred pounds to put together.
‘HIPs are history’
Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, said: ‘The expensive and unnecessary home information pack has increased the cost and hassle of selling homes and is stifling a fragile housing market.
‘HIPs are history. This action will encourage sellers back into the market, and help the market as a whole and the economy recover.’
However, the government’s move means that, as of today, property buyers will have to collect crucial information about prospective homes themselves – and this could prove expensive.
Which? Chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith commented: ‘Hips weren’t perfect, and few will shed a tear over their passing. But what about buyers? They still need to be better informed about what is the biggest purchase of their lives. This market does not work well for consumers, and now we must all go back to the drawing board to make home buying easier, cheaper and less stressful.’
If you’re about to sell your property and want further information on the suspension of HIPs, or have already ordered a home information pack and are unsure of what to do now, you may find the government’s HIPs Q&A web page useful.
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