RICS warns of HIP loopholes

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned that the phasing in of Home Information Packs will create loopholes that could be exploited.

HIP regulations state that from Aug-ust 1, a house can be placed on the market without a HIP as long as one has been commissioned. HIPs will be roll-ed out to the whole of the market when enough home inspectors and domestic energy assessors are accredited, with a final implementation deadline of January 1 2008.

But a statement from RICS says: “The government has created a framework lasting at least five months which will permit inconsistent practices and unequal costs for consumers.

“We are concerned the transitional arrangements will produce an unenforceable framework with many loopholes for agents and sellers to exploit.”

Last week, housing minister Yvette Cooper got a bashing in the House of Commons over the treatment of home inspectors and energy assessors.

MPs questioned Cooper on whether compensation would be offered to those who have given up their jobs to train to produce Home Condition Reports and Energy Performance Certificates for HIPs.

Brian Binley, Conservative MP for Northampton South, lambasted Cooper for her government’s broken promises to inspectors and assessors.

He says: “These people are now disillusioned and demotivated. What am I supposed to tell them about reclaiming their costs?”

Cooper insisted the government is committed to rolling out HIPs. She also hit out at the Tories for campaigning against the packs.