The Conservatives want to Abolish HIPs, is that Likely?
They have been the subject of controversy since they were first introduced into the market last year and it seems that's unlikely to change. While the Government continues to push the initiative and praises it as a hugely beneficial innovation for home sellers and home buyers others in the political arena clearly disagree.
HIPs HistoryHome Information Packs have been on the Government's agenda for some time but only came into the public domain in recent years. The idea was to provide home buyers with a pack which effectively told them everything they needed to know about the property they were interested in buying. The packs would include details of the area and, at one point, were also set to include a Home Condition Report, which would inform the buyer of the condition of the property, including any problems with it such as damp, foundation problems, etc. This part of the pack though was made voluntary before the HIPs roll-out began, causing a great deal of embarrassment for the Government and a great deal of amunition for the opposition - as we will look at later.
In 2007 the implementation of HIPs began. The roll out was slow and started with just very large houses with five or more bedrooms. This was gradually rolled-out to include other sized properties and by 2008 all properties all properties, regardless of their size, had to have a Home Information Pack in order to be sold.
What the Conservatives SayUnsurprisingly the Conservatives have not been exactly supportive of Labour's HIP initiative. Since HIPs were first brought to the forefront the Tories have made no secret of the fact they disagree with the whole idea, criticising them for being just another form of bureaucracy and for being too expensive. However Labour have not exactly helped themselves in the situation. The roll out of HIPs has been hailed by some industry professionals as laughable. It was claimed that by the time all the changes to the initial idea had been made the HIP had lost a huge proportion of it's use.
The biggest turning point for HIPs was the decision to make Home Condition Reports voluntary. Many people saw the HCR as the defining part of the HIP. It would enable the buyer to see exactly what condition the property they were about to buy was in - something few would deny is useful. However once this was made voluntary as opposed to a mandatory part many people questioned what the point in the HIP now was.
The delays in roll out and in the introduction of the first day marketing rule have also caused embarrassment for the Government. The first day marketing rule states a house must have a fully completed HIP before it is even put on the market however the date for the introduction of this rule has been put back several time, leaving many in the industry to say it is making a mockery out of the whole initiative and is a sign that HIPs are not being welcomed.
Will the Conservatives Abolish HIPS?As most of us know opposition parties, and indeed ruling parties, often promise things they can't (or won't) deliver in order to receive votes. By this token we can't be sure what the Conservatives will do if they get into power. However if we go by what they are currently claiming then it looks likely they they will abolish HIPs completely if they win the next election. Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps has said on many occasions he would get rid of HIPs if he had the chance, blaming them for properties being taken off the market as owners are reluctant to pay for the pack.
Whilst the Conservatives may be keen to get rid of HIPs it seems if Labour stay in power the packs will be here to stay with the Government still actively supporting the initiative, regardless of the criticism lobbied at them.