Be aware of cheap, budget HIP & EPC providers

Cheap Home Information Pack (HIP) and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) providers in the market place, are unfortunately not delivering the promised service or product at times, within the timescales agreed. It has been brought to our attention that a number of companies are taking excessive time to deliver or arrange EPCs, some have not received their HIP or EPC at all as the company has gone into liquidation and ceased trading.

Recently, we have received numerous calls from anxious concerned people who were looking for advice on what they could do in their specific problematic scenarios plus people who thought they had instructed us to carry out their HIP and/or EPC, when infact they had opted for a ‘cheap HIP provider‘.

These clients had made enquiries via at some point, though had decided to try and save further money from our competitive fees through other providers.

A number of estate agents have reported to us that they are expecting the HIP to be ready to allow legal marketing within 3-4 days. We are told that in many cases the energy assessor has not even contacted the owner in this timescale nevermind the HIP being prepared to the extent that is now required by law.

Poor quality HIP providers have to an extent managed to go un-noticed as there was not a major requirement for the documents to be prepared efficiently and in a timely manner; as prior to 6th April 2009 a property could be marketed as long as a HIP had been ordered. However, this has changed, if you want your property marketed quickly and legally you really need to consider whether you HIP provider will deliver this.

From the 6th April 2009, to be able to legally market your property the following documents must be in place and available:

  • Index
  • Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ)
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA) for new homes marketed before completion
  • Sustainability information (new homes only)
  • Sales Statement
  • Evidence of Title – HMLR Title Plan and Register. For unregistered properties a search of the index map must be included.

So why the poor service?

Am afraid it is time for the phrases and clichés you will often heard from your parents and grandparents and never have they been more true.

“If something looks too good to be true, it normal is..”

The HIP prices are often so cheap from budget HIP providers as they hope, plan or it is a requirement that you use other services from ‘them’, for example conveyancing or marketing of your property and they will obviously make more income from you in this respect.

We simply focus on Home Information Packs and Energy Performance Certificates and at no point will we try and sell you other products or services. The quality of our service and professionalism is paramount, we will never sacrifice this to reduce costs.

Cheap, budget HIP providers will as is quite standard across the industry contract out the energy assessment to produce the EPC, an important part of the Home Information Pack. However, the main consideration for the ‘budget HIP provider‘  when choosing an assessor for your domestic energy assessment appears to be……, yes you have guessed it, price.

“You get what you pay for..”

Domestic energy assessors (DEA) who work with us, often tell us of  ‘cheap HIP providers’ that call them to make offers of work at fees levels which are often described by them as  insulting and they refuse to do the work due to this. These providers then continue to contact assessors until they have found someone who will do the work at these fees which often equate to less then the minimum wage.

They do seem to eventually find someone, though this can take them time, hence the delay, lack of professionalism and quality of the service which is often reflected in the assessment.

“Pay peanuts, get monkeys..”

Is a phrase we are hearing repeated by many DEAs frustrated by these companies and those DEAs who are accepting these very low fees.

There also seems to be an increasing level of  ‘budget HIP providers’ who are delaying or struggling paying the domestic energy assessors they use, which does raise questions in regard to their long term security, viability and business model. If their cash flow is so tight they are not able to pay for services of DEAs that they have used, it raises concerns of whether they are close to shutting their doors and if the HIP will actually be produced.

We have seen a good number of these ‘cheap HIP providers’ cease trading one of which was reported on by Watchdog ‘HIPS company fails to deliver’ and we are sure to see more.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch..”

With these ‘cheap’ HIP and EPC providers, it may seem as that is what you are going to get, but please be aware this may not actually be the case and using one of these companies may turn out to be false economy.

Please note:  In most cases we are unable to help with past problems encountered with ‘other’ providers. However, if we can help you in the future feel free to contact us.

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