The major bodies involved in residential property have reacted with fury after the Government first refused to meet them, then cold-shouldered them, and finally attacked them for their opposition to Home Information Packs on the grounds that they had “vested interests”.
Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “We regret that Communities and Local Government is implying that the NAEA and other sectors  are resistant to change, due to us currently making money out of the home buying and selling process. This is another example of a failure to listen to our previous comments.
“Far from resisting change, agents will welcome real improvements to the current system. It is after all in estate agents’ interests if fewer sales fall through.
“However, as we have said on numerous occasions, the proposed costly HIPs are not the answer. We have asked for an industry meeting with the Government to discuss the position in its entirety. This request has been ignored.
“Of even greater concern is the CLG’s disappointment that the industry rejects measures to help prevent climate change by the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates.
“The NAEA not only supports the introduction of the EPC, but is one of three awarding bodies for the domestic energy assessors’ qualification. Our two concerns are whether there will be enough assessors in all areas of the country by June 1, and at what stage during the buying and selling process the EPC should be required.
“The fact is that HIPs now appear to be mostly about introducing the EPC, which can easily be dealt with as a separate entity.”
As exclusively revealed in our last issue, major stakeholders had written to the housing minister expressing their concerns over the implementation of HIPs. This was followed by a second letter. Both letters are published in full on these pages, together with their signatories.
RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf said: “We are not expressing new concerns. We have been talking with the Government about them for a long time, but it has not listened. As implementation plans have emerged over the last 18 months, our concerns around the cost to consumers and the market consequences of the HIP, have grown markedly.
“CLG’s gold plating of the Brussels requirements on energy performance is the most recent example of an approach that defies any rational explanation.
“We totally support energy performance initiatives but we believe CLG’s approach will actually increase carbon emissions, not reduce them.
“Officials are blindly pressing on with their compulsory Whitehall solution despite evidence that this ignores market realities, introduces unnecessary regulation and is environmentally unsound. After eight years, the HIP we are now left with will serve no useful purpose and certainly will not solve the problems in the home buying and selling process that HIPs were supposed to address.” 
Housing minister Yvette Cooper replied to the first letter refusing a meeting.
The second letter was then sent to Ruth Kelly, secretary of state for CLG, and copied to the Prime Minister and to the Chancellor, asking the Government to “reconsider this seriously flawed and extremely rushed piece of legislation”. The stakeholders were still awaiting a reply almost three weeks later, as we went to press.
Meanwhile, the NAEA’s petition on the Prime Minister’s website has received over 7,600 signatures.
Charles Smailes, president of the NAEA, said: “It is clear that there is considerably more work to be done if HIPs are to be a workable solution, and there is simply not enough time for the issues to be resolved before June 1. In their current format, HIPs will prove ineffective and impractical.
“NAEA members involved in the trials are already confirming some of our worst fears. One member reported having requested 25 Packs, but almost a month later he had not received a single HIP.”
This week, CLG released an update saying it was making good progress towards the June 1 implementation date. The CML meanwhile publicly repeated its call for postponement.