What is a HCR?
One of the most controversial issues surrounding the introduction of the Home Information Packs is the Home Condition Report. The Home Condition Report was originally mean to be a compulsory part of the Home Information Pack, along with the Energy Performance Certificate, the Standard Searches, the HIP Index, the sale statement and the Evidence of Title documents. However in the summer of 2006 the Government did a U-turn and decided the HCR would no longer be a compulsory requirement. Instead home owners could purchase the HCR as an optional extra. This caused much controversy as those that were opposing the HIP claimed it was making the HIPS a sham. Equally, some supporters of HIPS argued this was a bad move as it removed the main component of the pack, or the most useful part at least.
What is a Home Condition Report?
The clue to what a Home Condition Report is is in the title. Home Condition Reports tell the buyer all the information they need to know about the physical condition of your house. The HCR tells the buyer of the physical condition of the property and can be relied on legally. For example if a problem should be found after the sale that the HCR did not specify was there the seller is liable.
It also means the buyer cannot complain to the seller about a condition which was reported in the HCR before the sale. If you buy the property and the condition you have issues with was mentioned in the HCR then it is your own problem, and not that of the seller or previous owner.
The Department for Communities and Local Government estimate a HCR could cost between £250 and £1000 although the Government claims this is worth it for the benefits it will provide.
So how do you get a Home Condition Report?
The report must be completed by a Home Inspector who is qualified to NVQ Level 4. The Home Inspector will make enquiries about such problems as flooding but the inspection will not affect your house as it is non-evasive. The Home Condition Report inspection could be done at the same time as the Energy Performance Certificate, which is a compulsory part of the pack.
There are various ways of finding a Home Inspector. You will find several in your local directory as many trained when the HCR was a compulsory part of the Home Information Pack. Alternatively if you are unable to find one if you area in your local directory then you can visit the Building Research Establishment, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Surveyors and Valuers Accreditation.
The Home Information Packs are a controversial initiative that were made even more contentious by the decision to make the Home Condition Report only an optional extra. However the Government hopes the benefits of the Home Condition Report will make it a desirable option, despite the hefty price tag. Only time will tell however if home owners choose to pay the extra for the HCR.