The government has announced that the Home Information Pack scheme (HIP’s) will be extended to cover 3 bed houses from 10 September 2007.
Despite opposition to the initial introduction of HIPs the government has decided to push ahead with the expansion of the scheme. The Home Information Packs were originally scheduled to be introduced for all homes from 1st August 2007, but after a farcical u-turn in July only 4 bed houses were initially covered.
The original brief for HIPs was to find a way to improve the house buying process in England, not least to speed up the house buying system. However following an EU directive that all houses must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) the government decided to add the requirement to the HIPs. This would have worked had they no been forced to withdraw the Home Condition Reports (HCR) from the packs. If you have a low tolerance for acronyms then this whole matter could start sounding like double dutch (DD).
HIPs Being Introduced Gradually
Opponents to the introduction of HIPs had hoped that the government would take the staggered launch as a opportunity to review the whole matter and possibly make some positive changes.
Claims that an EPC will somehow help to reduce carbon emissions are somewhat strange given that the observations in the report are only advisory and carry no weight. Not least given the age of most properties being bought and sold, it is strange to think that an Energy Efficiency Report will recommend that a listed building fits uPVC windows which is in direct opposition to listed buildings regulations.
HIPs can cost around £500 and take about 5 days to compile. The finished report should include:
- Evidence of title
- Copies of planning, listed building or building regulations consents
- A local search
- Guarantees for any work on the property
- An energy performance certificate
One of the factors which delayed the initial introduction of HIPs was the lack of home inspectors, the government recently confirmed that there are enough inspectors to further expand the scheme. So, it seems likely that HIPs will soon be required for all properties changing hands.