Let’s get a few things clear about HIPs

There are now just nine months to go before Home Information Packs are born. There has been considerable concern expressed about this initiative, resulting in the government being forced to step down over the thorny issue of Home Condition Reports.

But HIPs will go ahead and the challenge is to prepare for them, so it is worth clarifying the following issues, about which I hear a lot of confused comment.

Implementation date: HIPs go live on June 1 2007, which means that after this date, all properties placed on the market will need one. Properties put on the market prior to June 1 but which remain unsold will not need a HIP until November 1 2007.

Penalty charges: Failure to produce a HIP when a property is put on the market will result in a fine. The local weights and measures authority will police this, which means trading standards officers. The fine for not producing one can be up to 500, but will initially be 200.

Cost of a HIP: The government’s original estimate, when HCRs were part of the deal, was between 600 and 700 plus VAT. The cost will vary from supplier to supplier. My guess is that a standard HIP without an HCR will cost about 350.

Home inspectors: It is estimated that between 2,500 and 4,500 inspectors will be needed by next June to produce Energy Performance Certificates. At present only qualified home inspectors are able to carry out EPCs but the government is working to develop an appropriate qualification for energy inspectors, which should be available before the end of this year.

Dry run: A dry run is scheduled to take place this autumn to test HIPs, EPCs and HCRs. The Association of Home Information Pack Providers’ regional roll-out will take place in Southampton, Newcastle, Northampton, Bath, Huddersfield and Cambridge, starting on November 6.

Intermediary implications: Brokers should have a HIP supplier in place, ensure staff are trained, make clients aware that this will be a service on offer and integrate HIPs into their marketing activities.

Further information: There are plenty of sources of useful information including the following websites:
  • www.homeinformationpacks.gov.uk
  • www.communities.gov.uk
  • www.a-m-i.org.uk
  • www.econveyancer.com