Goodbye HIPs, Hello EPCs – Home Seller Guide

Until today, home sellers had to have a Home Information Pack in place before their home could be put on the market.  HIPs have now been suspended, pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition.  Before the election, the Conservative Party promised a consultation on their complete removal, but this isn’t mentioned in the official announcement.

There are two different journalists’ viewpoints on this news available here and here and the official Government line can be read here.

The HIP cost varied dependant on the source you chose tp purchase from.  Agents providing them free of charge normally required the seller to pay back the cost of the HIP if they took their property off the market, or instructed another agent, so some sellers chose to pay for their own HIP to avoid being “tied in” to one agent.  Without the HIP in place, the cost of assembling this information will now fall on the buyer, not the seller – a return to the situation that existed prior to the introduction of the HIP.

From today, if you intend to sell your house you no longer need to have a HIP in place, but you do need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  To comply with the new law, you need to have instructed a Domestic Energy Assessor to prepare one, and either to have paid for it, or given a clear undertaking to pay, before marketing.

If you are selling through an agent, he or she must be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned before starting to market your home.  Both parties must make reasonable efforts to secure an EPC within 28 days, and all of the new duties carry fixed penalties where somebody fails to comply.

Estate agents may replace their earlier offers of free or reduced price HIPs with similar offers relating to EPCs.  Before choosing to take up the offer from the agent, though, sellers should consider whether they may get a better service, and possibly a cheaper price, by buying direct from a local DEA.

Another approach, if you think you may be selling your property at any time in the future, is to have an EPC prepared in advance.  An EPC is valid for 10 years at present, so there’s no reason not to.  One advantage is that you may find out that you can very cheaply improve the energy efficiency of your home as part of your preparation for selling.  This would not only improve your home’s EPC rating, but also provide an immediate reduction in your fuel bills.  If you do make changes to your home that were suggested in the EPC, most DEAs will update it and issue a new one for a small additional fee.

You can easily find a local DEA by any of the following methods:

Written by Linn Rafferty of  JTec Energy Performance

HIP continue to supply Energy Performance Certificates nationwide.

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