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8th May 2008 - Home Information Packs - benefiting consumers

The Government today announced a package of measures to help ensure consumers are seeing the vital information in Home Information Packs and are receiving a higher standard of service in the home buying and selling process.

The new measures include: developing a new set of standards with industry on what consumers should expect from property professionals in the home buying and selling process; further building on the quality of information in the packs; working with industry to ensure that consumers are fully seeing and benefiting from the HIP, including the EPC, early in the process; extending until the end of the year the provisions enabling consumers to market their home as long as they have ordered and committed to pay for a HIP, and the provision requiring the lease to be included in the HIP for leasehold properties.

The latest figures on HIPs show that consumers are already benefiting from the introduction of Home Information Packs. More than 700,000 homes now have energy ratings as a result of HIPs, helping home owners to save money on their fuel bills and cut carbon emissions. Greater competition in the property searches market is also leading to reductions in costs with some local authorities reducing their search fees by up to £120.

Housing Minister Caroline Flint said:

"Home Information Packs are already bringing benefits to consumers. Property search costs are falling and new information on energy efficiency can help cut carbon emissions and enable prospective purchasers to get a better idea of the likely costs of energy bills.

"But we want to do more to improve the HIP and the home buying and selling process for consumers. Developing a new set of standards for industry is an important next step in further ensuring all consumers get the highest quality of service when buying or selling a home. We also want to ensure all consumers are seeing the vital information in a HIP early in the process so they can fully benefit.

"Alongside the development of a new industry code, we will continue to work with the industry to promote higher and consistent standards of practice on the delivery of HIPs."

Today's announcement includes:

  • Work to develop a new set of standards for industry involving leading bodies such as the RICS, NAEA, and the Law Society. This aims to bring together best practice within the industry into a single set of standards that all consumers can expect from property professionals in the home buying and selling process, including redress arrangements, the provision of Home Information Packs and delivery of local searches.
  • Work with the industry to ensure that agents and HIP providers understand and act on the requirement to prepare the HIP as soon as the EPC is produced, so that it is available to potential buyers early in the process.
  • Develop in partnership with the property professionals, the means for capturing consumer friendly information for inclusion within the HIP, such as property fixtures and fittings, access and boundries. This will draw on the lessons learnt from our Area Trials.

Notes to editors

1. Homeowners are required to provide a Home Information Pack when marketing their homes for sale throughout England and Wales. This will help reduce the millions wasted every week because of failed transactions.

2. The pack must include evidence of title, terms of sale and standard searches. An energy efficiency rating must also be included in the report, giving consumers the choice to assess the likely running costs of a property before they buy.

3. The provision for first day marketing allows a property to be marketed without a HIP as long as the required documents have been commissioned and paid for (or arrangements for payment made) and there is an expectation they will arrive within 28 days.


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