Home Information Packs become law next Wednesday but what exactly are they and what do they mean for the public?
What is a HIP?
It is a collection of documents including Deeds, Searches, leasehold information (if appropriate) and an Energy Performance Certificates that has to be ordered before a property is marketed.
Who needs one?
Anyone who starts to market a property with four or more bedrooms in England and Wales after 1st August.
Who is responsible for ordering one?
The 2004 Housing Act defines “the responsible person” as being either the estate agent or the owner if an agent is not employed. Failure to order one could result in a fine and/or a possible ban for an estate agent.
What will it cost?
At the moment a full HIP will cost anything over £299.00. Leasehold properties will cost more due to the increased information that is necessary. Figures of £1,000.00 have been quoted.
Where do I get one?
Most lawyers and estate agents will be able to recommend a Pack Provider. Some will have negotiated discounts but read the small print before accepting any subsidised or ‘free’ HIP.
How long do they last?
A Home Information Pack will now be valid for at least six months although some lawyers acting on behalf of a buyer may recommend that elements like searches be refreshed earlier than this.
What are they for?
The Government hopes that the introduction of Packs will help speed up the time it takes to buy and sell a home by providing more information up front. There should be less likelihood of a sale falling through after a sale has been agreed.
What are they really for?
As part of the Kyoto Protocol we signed up to we will be obliged to introduce Energy Performance Certificates for all residential property in 2009. All rental properties will require an EPC from August next year.
What will an EPC cost?
To start with, an EPC will cost about £130.00.
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate is a fridge style rating A-G which is produced by a newly qualified Domestic Energy Assessor who will visit each property, measure things like the depth of lagging in the loft and produce a standard report.
Do I get to see the report?
Yes, it will be available to anyone who asks for it together with the Home Information Pack and can be viewed online via the LandMark website. You cannot challenge it nor can you have it withdrawn. It is therefore essential that you get a suitable Assessor who understands your type of property.
Where can I find out more?
Go to the News and Information section of the HiP Exchange at www.theHipExchange.com