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Saturday 22nd of November 2008
May 2, 2007

Opposition to Home Information Packs “widespread” according to House of Lords committee


by Elaine Frei
Opposition to Home Information Packs "widespread" according to House of Lords committee

With just a month to go before those selling a house in England and Wales will be required to provide a Home Information Pack (HIP), the program is facing stiff opposition from estate agencies and legal bodies which say that they have not had enough time to prepare for the new requirement. Now a committee in the House of Lords has called the opposition to HIPs “striking” and “widespread” and said that the criticisms of the program must be taken seriously. Lord Filkin, chairman of the Lords Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments remarked on the strength of the criticisms and said that their widespread nature is unusual.

The HIPs must include evidence of title to the property being sold; copies of planning, listed building or buildings regulations consents; a local search; guarantees for any work that has been done on the property; and an energy performance certificate. One requirement, that a home condition report be included in the HIP, was dropped by the government last year. Criticisms of HIPs include that the packs will generally be of little use to home buyers and, more specifically, that there are not enough qualified people to do the required energy assessments for the packs. This lack of assessors could lead, critics charge, to delays in producing HIPs.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper has responded that the HIPs requirement would go into effect as scheduled on June 1. She said that those who had given evidence to the Committee had vested interests in seeing the implementation of the requirement either delayed or eliminated altogether, and said that it was “unfortunate” that the Committee had not taken testimony from industry groups that support HIPs or from environmental groups. In addition, the claim that there are too few qualified individuals to carry out energy assessments was disputed both by the government and by groups that represent HIPs providers.

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