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2008 Home Information Pack review one year after implementation in the UK.

Date Added: November 13, 2008 03:35:56 PM


It has now been over one year since the much debated Home Information Pack and Energy Performance Certificate for houses with 4 or more bedrooms was launched on the 1st August 2007. The principle was to ensure that buyers will know how energy efficient a house is before they buy it, and also so that some of the legal work in regards to that can be dealt with in advance, saving time and money for those concerned.


Now that time has passed since the introduction of Home Information Packs and Energy Performance Certificates, we can trace the impact the scheme has had on the UK. All houses of a particular size that are put on the market are now subject to the rules and must have the necessary Home Information Pack (known as HIPs) and Energy Performance Certificate (known as EPCs).
There was much concern and debate over the introduction of HIPs at the time. They had a somewhat shaky start when the Government was taken to court by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors over the plans which delayed the 1st June launch and led to a negotiated compromise with RICS and the initial 4 bedroom house implementation.
Home Information Packs affect all those in the UK who hold an interest in conveyance and areas connected with conveyancing. It will not be until the end of 2008 when HIPs become mandatory for all homeowners, however, on the 8th May 2008, the Housing Minister, Caroline Flint MP, announced the extension of what were intended to be temporary provisions for First Day Marketing and leasehold requirements in the HIP Regulations from 1 June to 31 December 2008. This allows a property to be marketed where the HIP has been commissioned and paid for, or arrangement for payment been made, and the documents are expected to arrive within 28 days.
Yet people are still uncertain as to the exact makeup of a Home Information Pack. Within a HIP, you can expect to find a number of compulsory legal documents and searches. These include a Home Information Pack Index, an Energy Performance Certificate (which gives a “fridge type” efficiency rating for the property and makes suggestions for improvements), a Sale Statement, a list of Standard Searches, Evidence of Title, and, where appropriate, additional information for leasehold and common hold sales.
Of these documents, it is important to note that there can be variations from HIP to HIP depending upon the provider. For the list of Standard Searches, a better provider will incorporate the best kind of detailed Full Official Local Authority Search. Some HIP providers use other kinds of searches provided by personal search companies. However, this can occasionally cause problems with buyers or their lenders who will not always accept personal search results. Consequently, this can cause difficulties to get in the way of a successful sale, which is, of course, the last thing a homeowner wants. This one simple area of Home Improvement Packs shows just how vital it is to get good advice on HIPs.
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Ian Robinson is the managing partner of Hampshire Law Firm Churchers – with 5 offices throughout the Portsmouth Harbour region including Cosham Solicitor, Fareham Solicitor, Gosport Solicitor and Lee-on-the-Solent.