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May 17, 2007

HIPs in chaos weeks before launch

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by Brian Turner

RICS launches HIPs legal challenge

The government’s Home Information Packs scheme is in chaos, weeks before it goes live.

Key problems include the fact that house sellers will be fined £200 if they do not provide HIPs – £400 cheaper than if they provided one.

Additionally, the policing of HIPs is being left to local councils, who claim they have neither the resources nor priority to police it effectively.

On top of all this, only 1100 of the required 2000 staff to implement HIPs have been trained, meaning that many homeowners would be able to get a HIPs pack, even if they wanted one.

If that easn’t enough, there are also claims that there is a problem with the software system that issues energy ratings to homes, suggesting that it is processing data incorrectly and therefore unable to give useful results.

The news comes only a day after the Conservatives failed in a last bid attempt to have HIPs scrapped in Parliament, leaving HIPs on course for a chaotic implementation.

The result is that many sellers will be unlikely to be issuing a HIP with their property sales, more intent on facing the cheaper fine instead. Even more damning is that selling a property without a HIP is not a criminal offence, but instead a Civil offence – which means that it will be left to Trading Standards at the local council level to seek and prosecute offenders.


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