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Are HIPs Here to Stay?

By: Christine Whitfield BA (hons) - Updated: 8 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Home Information Packs Hips Government

Home Information Packs were introduced in 2007 as a way of making the home buying and selling process more efficient. They were also intended to stop gazumping - where another buyer offers a bigger sum of money for a property. This caused a lot of misery for potential buyers and also held up the buying process.

They were met with criticism from the very beginning though. The industry saw Home Information Packs as yet more red tape and more barriers. HIP providers spoke of the benefits of HIPs but for consumers and others in the industry the HIPs initiative was not well received.

What Is A HIP?

Home Information Packs include details of the property being sold. They are purchased and put together by the owner of the house and must be completed before the house is put on the market. The pack includes details of the owners of the property, details of the surrounding area and Energy Performance Certificates which tell the buyer how energy efficient the property they are purchasing is.

The packs can also contain Home Condition Reports. These reports where initially a compulsory part of the pack but not long before the launch it was announced they would only be a voluntary addition.

This move was slammed because many people thought the Home Condition Report was the most - and sometimes only - valuable part of the pack. The HCR would include details of the condition of the property including details of damp spots or poor construction work.

Are HIPs Here To Stay?

Ever since they were introduced there have been calls for HIPs to be scrapped. With the economic situation so dire at the moment there are renewed calls for the initiative to be cancelled. However it is unlikely the Labour government will do this.

The Government is unlikely to scrap HIPs because it would mean making a massive u-turn and it would look bad. The u-turn made regarding Home Condition Reports already made the government a laughing stock so it seems they will persevere with the HIPs initiative despite the criticism it is receiving.

There is a chance that HIPs will be scrapped though if the Conservative party get into power.

The Conservatives have made no secret of the fact they are against Home Information Packs. They believe the initiative adds an extra barrier for those wanting to sell their property which is not needed, especially in the current economic climate. They have promised that if they get into power they will scrap HIPs almost immediately. They will however continue with the Energy Performance Certificate initiative in an attempt to make properties more energy efficient.

Despite the barrier HIPs may create for homeowners wishing to sell it is unlikely we will see a reprieve while Labour are still in power. That means for the foreseeable future at least homeowners must get used to the fact they will have to complete a HIP when they want to see their property.

Not producing a HIP can result in a hefty fine so do not risk it.

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