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HIP change is slap in the face for local authorities

The government has delivered a slap in the face to local authorities by allowing properties to be marketed after June 1 without local searches in Home In-formation Packs.

In measures outlined by the Department for Communities and Local Government, sellers will be able to market their properties as soon as an Energy Performance Certificate and key legal documents are provided, as long as searches and leasehold documents have been commissioned.

Previously, HIPs had to contain local searches before properties could be put up for sale.

The government says the average time for producing HIPs in its area trials varies between four days and four weeks, with the main cause of delay being obtaining local searches.

It says this is a transitional arrangement that will be reviewed after six months to see whether searches are needed.

In an updated consultation based on evidence from the trials, the DCLG states: “Delays in providing searches can cause serious delays in the preparation of HIPs. We need to speed up the provision of searches for consumers and address the postcode lottery that has been created.”

Trevor Youens, operations director at The Live Organisation, says this means people will pay the full price for HIPs without being able to show them to buyers in their entirety.

Leasehold properties will also be able to be marketed without leasehold documents as long as these have been commissioned.

Under previous guidelines, sellers would have had to wait 14 days after ordering such documents before they could market their properties without them.

Also, properties that go on the market before the HIP implementation date of June 1 will now be able to stay HIP-free until March 31 2008, rather than the original October 31 2007 deadline.

This is to ensure the market is not disrupted by massive demand for the packs in the weeks before June 1.

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