HIP: What is a Legal Summary & Do I Need One?
Since Home Information packs were first introduced in 2007 there has been some confusion as to what exactly needs to be included in the pack.
Of course, consumers cannot be wholly blamed for not knowing this as for a time it seemed even those in charge of implementing the packs could not figure out what elements needed to be included.
When the Home Information Pack initiative was first devised back in 1997 the exact details of what would be included had not been finalised. However the general idea was that they would include documents surrounding the property and area and details of the energy efficiency of the property.
Back in 1997 the issue of energy efficiency was starting to gain prominence and it was recognised that the need to know how ‘green’ your house was going to become even more important. Therefore the inclusion of an Energy Performance Certificate was to be mandatory.
Several other documents must be included in the HIP and are not optional.
The Pack must include a summary of the terms of the sale along with evidence of the title of the seller.
Any guarantees and warranties must be included as well as other searches and, if applicable, leasehold information.
In the time between 1997 and 2006 it was widely acknowledged that the another compulsory element would be the Home Condition Report.
Legal SummaryThere are some other elements of the Home Information Pack that are optional, aside from the Home Condition Report. One of these is the Legal Summary.
The problem is, while these documents are labelled clearly as either mandatory or voluntary the public are not fully informed as to what these documents are actually for and therefore may decide to include a document that they could really have done without or, in the case of the Home Condition Report, choose not to include it despite the benefits it can provide.
A Legal Summary is simply a breakdown of all the other legal documents included in the pack. The summary given a short statement explaining what each of the other documents are for. It is not essential by any means and can easily be omitted. Should you wish to include a Legal Summary then you should contact your solicitor or HIP provider.
Sellers should not be pushed into including documents in the HIP that are not mandatory however they should be aware of the benefits some of these can provide and should weigh up whether or not they will offer their buyer anything extra.
A Legal Summary will provide a concise listing and explanation of the documents included, this could be beneficial to the client as it could simplify things.