Home Information Pack (HIP) changes

As of today we now have some subtle changes to the Home Information Pack legislation that could bring added benefit to the exisiting HIP via some modifications including the Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) which is now a required document.

From the 6th April 2009 the Home Information Pack regulations will change to include:

  • Introduction of the new Property Information Questionnaire – PIQ
  • Removal of the temporary first day marketing exemption
  • All searches, whether produced by a local authority or a search company, must be complete with no gaps in the data covered by insurance.

To be able to 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.

The remaining documents namely the standard searches, a copy of the lease and unregistered documentation (where necessary) must be completed and included in the HIP within 28 days.

The response to date has been mixed as one has come to expect with HIPs. It has been reported that even the National Association of Estate agents (NAEA) who have been generally anti-HIPs have soften their view, though mainly towards the introduction of the PIQ.

Chris Brown, President of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said;

“On the basis that local searches were moved back in the process, we did agree that consideration should be given to the introduction of a PIQ.”

The full statement can be read on the Mortgage Strategy site.

Marc Goldberg, head of residential sales at Hamptons International, says:

“The timing is curious but the principle is sound. Ultimately, we hope that transparency will lower the fall-through rate, when buyers change their minds as they unearth more details. In the long-run, Hips should speed up the sales process.”

HIP-Consultant.co.uk are fully prepared for the changes which includes an online Property Information Questionnaire which will be made accessible to all our clients.

Criticism has been made that the Home Information Pack does not provide a great wealth of information to the ‘typical’ buyer which the Property Information Questionnaire certainly helps to tackle.

The changes detailed above are not to be feared but embraced. Lets welcome positive change, improvements and the development of the home buying and selling process.

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15 Responses to “Home Information Pack (HIP) changes”

  1. Lets hope that these changes make the buying and selling process more transparent. We need all the help we can get in the current housing market climate.

  2. PricedOut is firmly in favour of Home Information Packs.

    A property is the biggest purchase that most people will make so it makes sense that as much information as possible is made available.

    Estate agents should actively let buyers know about the existence of HIPs so that buyers can make informed choices before wasting the time of sellers and their agents.

    PricedOut urges estate agents to embrace HIPs. The more information a HIP has, the more useful it will be. The sooner that the HIP has the full range of information the government proposed, the better.

  3. As a seller trying to read up whether the local estate agents were ripping me off for HIPs, I spent some time searching the web. I’m convinced that my local estate agents charge double the local certified independent hips providers listed in the yellow pages.

    Building your own seemed essentially trivial and even cheaper if you don’t mind filling in some forms, with even the DirectGov site hosting a fairly complete page on how to do it yourself. So I had a go, thre are only 7 documents and you _have_ to buy the complex ones.

    The main area of concern to me is the overall vagueness of all the documentation I’ve read as to what searches HAVE to be in the HIP, and how to tell if the ones you order WILL be complient. I don’t think the changes of 6th April 2009 have clarified this at all.

    Water and Drainage charges operated by the water companies are fairly easy to get and I was even able to fill in a form online and pay over the phone.

    But the council land charges searches are so obfuscated in red tape, conflicting information and charges that it’s the kind of craziness I’ve come to expect from the domestic housing market.

    You can only use two specific forms which you must get from a legal stationers (I’ve got them) but then councils provide so many different land charge searches for different uses that even with a complete breakdown of their costs and search types, it is not clear what is the precise search I need to order make my HIP valid.

    In my experience over the last two weeks of research, the only institution which seems dedicated to making HIPs difficult for individual sellers to produce is the Local Councils. Given that the government is promoting HIPs I think this, rather cynically, is flipping typical.

    Come on councils, add a “Get your HIP Searches Here Self Service” page to your websites along with some example forms and dig us out of this mess!

    Perhaps a consultant on this forum can do a post demystifying the area of local land searches for HIPs? I’d appreciate that!

  4. I tried to compile a HIP myself 3 months ago. After 3 weeks of struggling i ended up paying to have it finished for me. The money i would of saved doing it myself just wasnt worth the time i needed to spend to do it.

  5. […] Home Information Pack (HIP) changes […]

  6. I hope you can help. My property has been on the market since before 14 December 2007. I have been asked to provide a HIP but understood that the new changes have not affected the exemption for a property (1 bed flat) to not require a HIP if continually marked since before then. Thank you.

  7. Phil Smith Says:

    I am just about to market my property and have been attempting to complete the PIQ.

    Frankly, the questions are so vague is it untrue. This represents a ‘trap’ for the unwary and I have been advised to reply ‘Don’t know’ to some of the contentious questions like the one about access to your property. Does it refer to legal access or custom & practice? A solicitor is best equipped to answer some of these questions as part of the conveyancing as they are the experts, not the home owner.

    The property I am purchasing has a HIP but this is of very little use because it does not contain two VITAL pieces of information – a valuation and a survey. Buyers want to know is the property fairly priced & is it about to fall down, not how much CO2 it produces!

    This is just another piece of hurried nonsense from this government attempting to rescue the failed Home Information Pack. Shame on all involved in this piece of nonsense.

  8. Hi Sally

    You are correct. To remain legally compliant to the HIP regulations, if you have continually marketed your property you do not require a HIP.

  9. Hi Phil,

    There does seem to be debate over the PIQ as with most new legislation. The feedback we have received since implementation has been generally that the PIQ is quite straight forward and easy to complete. The PIQ is advised to be completed by the home owner, as per CLG guidance.

    There does seem to be discussion taking place by industry professionals about including a survey in the future but this is far from confirmed at present. The initial plans for Home Information Packs was that they would contain a Home Condition Report HCR but this was objected to as a mandatory document.

    I understand that you feel that a valuation and survey are vital. However, due to their absence, does this mean the other documents are useless?

    We recently wrote an article about the benefits of Home Information Packs which detailed just ONE example of where the existence of HIP legislation had benefitted a sale.

  10. Hello HIP-Consultant.co.uk

    With the greatest of respect your organisation, and any other who have gained from the HIP’s introduction, are clearly going to be in support of its existence. At the point it was realised that a survey (or at least a valuation) would not be included in the HIP, the whole project should have been abandoned.

    With regard to the PIQ, there needs to be space provided to add comments rather than just the overly simplistic tick boxes. For example, the question regarding the electrical wiring in the property. I was forced to respond “dont know” because although the existing wiring was inspected and brought up to standard by the electrician who did the work on my new extension, I have no report to back this up. If there had been space for comments, I could have added this information. What is also confusing is that there is no signature required so what’s to stop unscrupulous homeowners telling a few white lies anyway?

    Turning to the EPC, I have just waited nearly two weeks for the inspection to be performed on my property. After one cancelled appointment and two days off work, the individual who finally appeared to perform the assessment informs me that most buyers are not interested in them anyway! Their findings are based on numerous assumptions and are of very limited use – its not rocket science to work out for yourself how many low energy light bulbs are in a property!

    Two weeks and two days wasted annual leave later, my house is still not on the market because the HIP is still not ready. The estate agent says they are not even allowed to inform potential buyers of my properties existence until they have the HIP complete.

    The introduction of the HIP has been a very useful job creation exercise if nothing else. What a sorry mess the EU and the government have created between them!

  11. Hi Phil

    I am really sorry to hear about the poor service you were provided by another HIP provider, it certainly does not help the industry.

    There are some ‘budget’ HIP providers and unfortunately their service and product can be comprimised due to the price you pay.

    It is a shame you never contacted us as we prepare 99% of all EPCs within 3-5 working days, often sooner. We then have the property ready to be legally marketed 24 hrs after the EPC has been carried out. In some cases we can have had the property ready to market in 24 hrs but could and would not guarantee this.

    We endeavour to provide a high standard of service to our clients, which includes this section of our site where try and help, discuss and inform people, even if they are not ‘our’ clients.

    Obviously, as we specialise in HIPs and EPCs we have a vested interest in their existence. However, we also have a belief in the process and philosophy of the Home Information Pack. Though,I would certainly agree the implementation could of been improved in quite a few areas.

    If the EPC has been completed Phil, it is really poor the provider you have chosen has not been able to quickly compile the information to allow legal marketing. I hope the sale goes slightly more smoothly for you.

  12. Nick Stone Says:

    I’m one of those who think that HIPs are a hindrance, not a help. In particular, the PIQ is a poorly constructed document, to whose questions any sensible buyer will answer ‘Don’t Know’. To be specific, for Leasehold flats, many of the questions refer to the lease. Firstly, it is not the Seller’s job to interpret the lease conditions. Second, there are various mentions of ‘the property’ and ‘this property’ but nowhere does the form define what is meant by ‘the/this property’. A seller could give what he believes to be correct information for his specific flat, but later it could be argued that the ‘property’ included the whole building. While such ambiguity exists, the form is an irrelevant nuisance.

  13. I couldn’t agree more Nick.

    Having found a buyer, I have now been asked to complete transact forms TA6 and TA10. Surprise, surprise, lots of the questions have already been answered on the PIQ and in the rest of the HIP.

    Why do I need to provide this information again??

  14. As I proceed through the conveyancing process, I am finding more replication along the way.

    I have now been asked for evidence that Building Regs & planning approval was sought for an extension on the house I’m selling. My response was “its in the HIP”; their reply “we need the certificates!”. Just another example of how useless the HIP is!!

  15. Hi Phil

    Did you include the certificates in the HIP?

    If so, why did your solicitor ask for them again?

    These can be added as optional documents but not generally done routinely as they are not ‘compulsory’ though can easily be added if information is supplied.

    Normally, information about extensions ie planning and building regs will be highlighted in the Local authority search. This includes application details but not actually certification.

    It is worth remembering the HIP is not trying to remove conveyancing completely, though simply speed up and make the process smoother which it is doing in our opinion (as you may have guessed 🙂 )

    Exchange ready HIPs are being developed and considered; these will most probably include these kind of certificates.


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