Housing HIPs finally arrive

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NEARLY a decade since they were first dreamed up, the controversial Home Information Packs (HIPs) come into force in England and Wales today.

NEARLY a decade since they were first dreamed up, the controversial Home Information Packs (HIPs) come into force in England and Wales today.The aim of HIPs was to make costly and time- consuming solicitors’ and surveyors’ investigations a thing of the past for prospective buyers by providing a bundle of documents on homes – similar to the logbook and service history you expect to find when purchasing a car.

The cost of HIPs will range from 200 to 700.

But, a raft of changes and delays later, critics claim they have become pointless.

However, for homesellers whose houses have four or more bedrooms, a HIP is required by law from today.

Those without could incur penalties of up to 200 per day.

The Government is planning to roll out HIPs to three-bedroom properties next, followed by the rest of the market.

HIPs were due to be introduced from June 1, but the Government decided to opt for a staggered approach to ensure there would be sufficient numbers of accredited assessors following a legal challenge from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Local partner at Fitzjohn Ingle, in Cowgate, Peterborough, Gordon Kerston, said a sellers’ rush before the launch had failed to materialise.

He said: “There was such a hype for the original release in June, I think people have forgotten about it and thought it would be postponed again.

“I don’t think HIPs will have a huge impact on the market in Peterborough. Although it is another charge for selling a house, if people are looking to move, another 200 won’t make a difference. From our point of view, there will be less houses on the market, but the sellers will genuinely want to move.”

In order to ease in the new process, there is a period of grace up until 31 December.

Head of residential for Savills Peterborough, Robin Gregory, said: “The Government has finally seen sense and is allowing “first day marketing”, meaning that as soon as a HIP has been commissioned, the home can be put on the market.

“However, from January 1, 2008, it will be necessary to have the HIP in place before the property can be offered to anyone.

“In particular, if your property is leasehold, it may well take time to get all the details from the management company, so early warning of your intention to sell is advised.”