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May 20, 2010

Hips to be scrapped with immediate effect

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by Kay Mitchell

Hips to be scrapped with immediate effect

The coalition Government has announced it has scrapped Home Information Packs (Hips) with immediate effect.

According to Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, this “pointless red-tape” has been “strangling the housing market”.

“By suspending home information packs today, it means that home sellers will be able to get on with marketing their home without having to shell out hundreds of pounds upfront.

“We are committed to greener housing so from now on all that will be required will be a simple energy performance certificate,” said Mr Shapps.

The requirement for packs will be suspended for anyone selling their home from tomorrow (21 May). However, the standalone energy performance certificate (EPC) will be retained and must be produced by the vendor within 28 days of putting a home on the market.

The news has been welcomed by estate agents and mortgage brokers who have frequently called on the Government to review the packs, believing them to have contributed to the fall in house prices that followed for many months after they were introduced.

However, scrapping Hips will be devastating to those involved in the Hip industry, who have between them injected millions into the project over the past few years.

The packs were introduced in August 2007 and, according to the Government, were designed to speed up the home buying and selling process.

However, defending the packs recently, Mike Ockenden, director general of Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP), said: “Anyone with an ounce of sense would have known that it was the collapse of the banks and the following recession which forced the [housing] market to stagnate.”

According to the Association, homeowners started to become wary of the property market in April 2007 – prior to the introduction of Hips, with the number of new homes marketed falling 25% by July of that year.

Furthermore, an Ipsos MORI poll commissioned by AHIPP revealed that 85% of people had not been discouraged from selling as a result of the introduction of Hips.

A Hip costs in the region of between £250 and £350.

According to Mr Ockenden, there are between 3,000 and 10,000 people whose livelihoods are either directly or indirectly dependent on Hips.

“We want to work with the government and we still want the consultation we have been promised. We are not suggesting that Hips should be retained. AHIPP has accepted that they will be scrapped,” said Mr Ockenden.

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