Cooper accuses Tories of siding with NAEA over HIPs

The housing minister Yvette Cooper has accused the Conservative Party of siding with the National Association of Estate Agents.

The Association of Home Information Pack Providers says that, encouraged by leader David Cameron’s call for HIPs to be abandoned, the Conservatives appear to be siding with big business and echoing the views of a minority of estate agents who do not understand that HIPs are consumer friendly.

Mike Ockenden, director general of the AHIPP, says: “We have some sympathy with the minister’s view – the Tories appear to be on the side of the minority of estate agents who are anti the pack, despite the fact that it is very clear the packs act in the interests of the consumer.

“Despite the Tories claims, there are plenty of agents, some of whom are our members, who intend to, and indeed are ready to provide packs.

“There is a vocal minority of agents supported by their association who continue to fight against the inevitable arrival of HIPs.

“All I can say is that the Tories are backing the wrong horse.”

He adds: Another puzzling aspect to this opposition is that the Conservative Party now purports to be a green party.

“The packs will contain an energy efficiency report which will indicate a property’s running costs.

“This is surely a good aspect at a time when we as a nation are becoming more energy aware.”

The Energy Performance Report will provide a summary of a home’s energy features such as loft insulation and double-glazing and will indicate the costs for gas, electricity and other fuels.

The requirement for this report comes from a European directive and must be in place by 2009.

Ockenden adds: “How do the Tories intend to fulfil this directive?

“Including it in the HIP will save consumers money in long term.”