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April 6, 2009

Changes to Hips come into force today

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by Kay Mitchell

Changes to Hips come into force today

The controversial Home Information Pack (Hip) is subject to changes from today.

The packs, which have been branded “a waste of time” by critics, now have to be put in place before a property is put up for sale.

In the past, vendors could just order a Hip before a for-sale board was put up but sellers are now required to put in extra details in a new questionnaire.

The new Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) includes pre-sale information such as the home’s council tax band, parking arrangements, utilities and any structural alterations would be vital for buyers as they consider whether to make an offer.

According to the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP), the new changes will be beneficial to buyers.

However, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), say 89% of property professionals do not believe the new requirements are beneficial to buyers.

The NAEA, which has been against the packs since day one, claim they are a “failure” and are “costly and unnecessary”.

Furthermore, the NAEA has said Hips are preventing people from putting their property on the market. Whether or not a property sells, the vendor still has to pay for the Hip – which can cost anywhere in the region of £400.

However, if a property is put on the market without a Hip and PIQ, estate agents or vendors could face a fine of £200.

Hips were introduced in August 2007 and many believe they have contributed to the fall in house prices and estate agents have previously called on the Government to review th packs in an effort to help the struggling housing market.

The new changes mean that property owners will have to wait at least three to five days to obtain the required information needed for a pack.

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