Conservatives to consult on Home Information Packs (HIPs)

Grant Shapps MP office contacted us after a recent article ‘Conservative Home Information Pack policy to stall property market?’ where we posed a few questions. Grant Shapps office offered to provide answers to these questions, which we were pleased to accept.

The initial questions:

Q1. Are you going to replace Home Information Packs with anything else?
Q2. If so, what?
Q3. What are the planned timescales to the answer in Q2?
Q4. How will you manage the scrapping process, timescales and actions?

We went on to ask a few more questions which we hoped could also be addressed.

Q5 Is there any scenario where the Conservatives would not scrap HIPs or change to a degree and re-brand them? For e.g. If Mr Grant Shapps was to move office, if the Conservatives win the next election. If the consultation recommends change rather than abolishing them.

Q6 What makes Grant Shapps and the conservatives so against sellers providing upfront information about their property, which is the biggest purchase in most people’s lives. This happens with most products and services in our lives, why do you not want it with homes?

Q7. By saying you will scrap HIPs in 100 days, what consequences do you envisage this will have on the property market and how will you deal with this.

Q8 Once Home Information Packs are gone after 100 days, are we really going to go back to how things were prior to HIPs?

Q9. Is there any advice you can offer to small businesses who have invested much time, effort and money into servicing the Government introduced Home Information Pack legislation?

The response we received from Grant Shapps MP office was as follows:

We do not plan to replace HIPs with anything else. If we win the next election, we will scrap HIPs as soon as possible after a consultation period – we expect to be around 100 days. We are very keen to see industry/market driven solutions to any problems in the home-buying process but do not believe that the Government should impose more red tape and expensive bureaucracy on consumers, particularly during the longest and deepest recession on record. Though the compulsory element of HIPs will be removed they will remain voluntary and it is up to the industry to create a product that consumers value and want.

Grant fully appreciates how difficult this is for inspectors and shares their anger about the money they and others have spent on training. We believe that this Government has led you up a garden path by introducing a needlessly bureaucratic, expensive and largely pointless piece of legislation and we have every sympathy for someone in your position. However, it does seem to me that the people to blame are the ones currently in power. We have been consistent in our intentions and have warned the market place that HIPs didn’t enjoy our support throughout. We have set out separate policies on our support for EPCs and our expectation that they will become more widespread, an important tool in combating climate change, which will help those who are trained as DEAs.

It would be true to say that we had hoped for a more detailed response after the Conservative party spokesperson contacted us. However, we were pleased to be contacted by Mr Shapps MP office and the pleasant and easy communication that followed.

It is reported that Grant Shapps MP has embraced and has a real interest in social media and the internet. Grant regularly updates his twitter and if interested you can follow him at @grantshapps here.

We did re-iterated a couple of the questions and the spokesperson confirmed that they did not want to comment on these at this time.

The statement we received and later communication does confirm the consultation, which has been rumoured in various places and in itself raises further questions.

Who will be involved in the consultation?

How long do you envisage this lasting?

What will you be actually consulting on if you have already decided you will scrap HIPs?

The Conservative party spokesperson did confirm that they are working through the detail of the consultation at present. The news that a ‘consultation’ is now on the agenda will be of great interest to both anti and pro-HIP parties and whether it will be carried out with the true meaning of a ‘consultation’ at the forefront of the process.

The energy assessor and HIP industry certainly has limited confidence in recent ‘consultation’  processes carried out by the present government. This has been recently demonstrated with the new Housing Energy Advisor role where Domestic Energy Assessors who were more than adequately trained were overlooked to create a new role. The new role seems as if it will allow utilities to offer ‘free’ energy efficiency advice to home owners. An indication of how this will be made ‘free’ can easily established via current job opportunities which are all nearly 100% commission. So is the role, energy efficiency advice or sales?

It seems that the Conservative stance has either softened towards Home Information Packs; or that they are now looking into the legal ramifications and possible issues that lie with their policy ‘wishes’ to find it may not be as straight forward as hoped. As is often the case; the devil is in the detail. This is now concerning Anti HIP groups and  giving hope once again to those in support of upfront information being provided by the home seller.

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8 Responses to “Conservatives to consult on Home Information Packs (HIPs)”

  1. Would it be possible to pose the question whether Local Authorities are going to be included in the consultation exercise as we are part of the HIPs process.

  2. As i said on another article…

    For eg.. there is constant debate on the information provided on food. Is it applicable, is it useful, can the consumer understand it or do they look at it etc etc

    Now the guys dealing with this upfront information on food will concede it can be improved, but just becasuse of this fact do we scrap food labelling? No, there would be uproar.

    HIPs wont be perfect for sure at the minute, they have only been around for a short time. Is the public really going to be tricked into believing upfront information about spending 100k upwards is a bad idea, come on get real.

  3. The HIP was the only housing policy that Labour got right. They should have added surveys to them to make them really useful. It will be dreadful if the Conservatives get rid of them. We waste far too much time and money in this country during a purchase working out as info comes to light about a property whether we still wish to buy it. We should be able to see warts and all up front, then the person making the best offer gets it. No messing about. It was stupid not to add surveys. The energy cert is done by an impartial person and the same could be done by the survey – a government appointed surveyor to do the survey who cannot be influenced. End of. Sellers who are straight will always welcome the pack as well as buyers. It’s only dodgy sellers who want to disguise the condition of their property they have not maintained who don’t want them.

  4. I expect lies from the Labour party as standard practice but after the spin on Europe from the Conservatives will I expect lies from them too as standard so is this a lie regarding HIPs? I expect so.

    I expect HIPs in one form or another to remain so they wont be scrapped as pledged and this so called consultation is probably a spin, it looks like the CONServatives have learnt well from Labour.

    HIPs are jobs for the boys and if they are so good they wouldnt need to be FORCED BY LAW.

    If the CONServatives mean what they say that they will scrap them its easy HONOUR YOUR WORD and just leave things, Just make them not compulsary JOB DONE.

    My consultation is free and no expenses for anyone save a few £million we are bust so it looks like another lie/U turn by another CONS pledge in dealing with excessive government waste and quangos.

    What a disgrace politics is.

  5. Welcome back annoyed. Meery christmas to you.

    We certainly believe that a consultation should involve all relevant parties of which Local Authorities should not be overlooked.

    We are awaiting further info in regard to the consultation process and will of course update as soon as we can.

  6. The statement from Grant Shapps’ office is clear, HIPs will be scrapped after the consultion period, and from my reading of the statement, irrespective of what comments are submitted.

    Quote “If we win the next election, we will scrap HIPs as soon as possible after a consultation period – we expect to be around 100 days”.

    The consultation process is pointless as the decision has already been taken to scrap HIPs.

  7. […] Grants Shapps’s attitude towards HIPs is clear in one respect; he does not like them, though continues to avoid spelling out the Conservatives alternative (which does make the assumption they have one) and how they plan to manage the associated problems we highlighted in our recent article Conservative Home Information Pack policy to stall property market? and the response Grant Shapps gave us to – Conservatives to consult on Home Information Packs (HIPs). […]

  8. […] Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has previously explained that the new Government will scrap HIPs after a consultation period, which he expected to take around 100 days. Whether it’s possible to suspend the requirement during this consultation period is not […]

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