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Saturday 22nd of November 2008
May 15, 2007

Surveyors to challenge home information packs in court


by Elaine Frei
Surveyors to challenge home information packs in court

Saying that the government has failed to carry out proper consultations, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) will ask a court to review the requirement that any home sold in England and Wales beginning on June 1 have a home information pack (HIP) which includes evidence of title, an energy performance certificate among other data and guarantees.

The new requirement has been criticized heavily not only by the housing industry, but by a committee in the House of Lords. RICS said through a spokeswoman that it had not taken the decision to challenge HIPs in court frivolously and that it had pursued every alternative means of questioning the requirement.

Critics of the HIPs claim that both consumers and the industry are not prepared for the new program to begin. They are especially concerned that there are not enough qualified individuals to do inspections related to the requirement that an energy performance certificate be included in the information pack. The government and those who advocate the requirement insist that this is not so.

The cost of the packs, to be borne by home sellers and estimated at around £400 to £600, has also been criticized. Information from an April survey of RICS members shows that a number of homeowners have rushed to put their home on the market before the June 1 deadline; property offered for sale before that date do not have to have an HIP until next year. As a result, the number of unsold homes rose for the first time since November.

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