An Introduction to HIPS – The Home Information Pack
Introduced by the government during 2007, Home Information Packs contain key information for prospective home buyers in the UK, allowing them to make a better informed choice when searching for a property.
What’s In the Pack
- Sale Statement
- Evidence of Title
- Standard Searches
- Energy Performance Certificate
- Leasehold Documents (if applicable)
- Home Condition Report
- Guarantees and Warranties
- Home Contents or Use forms
- Other Searches
The Home Information Pack or HIP as its better known is a package of documents which anyone now selling their home in England and Wales, is required by law to compile. The government has brought in this legislation in the hope it will make buying a home a less stressful and more efficient process. It is also hoped to be beneficial to the housing market by speeding up the procedures involved and reduce the number of both buyers and sellers pulling out of the sale before completion.
There have been various postponements in releasing the Home Information Packs. Initially they were to be introduced for all homes on 1 June 2007, and then it was decided to spread the introduction over a period of time.
The first roll out of HIPS was on 1 August 2007. From that date all homes with four or more bedrooms had to have a Home Information Pack before they could be put on the market. This was followed shortly after by including homes with three or more bedrooms on 10 September 2007 and finally by adding homes with two or less bedrooms on 14 December 2007.
The idea of each property having a Home Information Pack was first suggested in the Housing Act of 1994 and has taken 13 years to be brought into practice.
Initially part of the pack, the Home Condition Report, was intended to be compulsory. However, this idea was scrapped and the report is now voluntary. This has caused some controversy after the government decided this in August of last year.
The Home Condition Report contains important information on the condition of the property and is arguably one of the most important documents in the pack. It allows the prospective buyer to be certain of the state of the property before completing the sale.
Critics say the removal of the Home Condition Report as compulsory makes the pack less worthwhile and decreases any likelihood of the scheme improving the housing market. The government say it may in future reintroduce the reports as compulsory if insufficient buyers voluntarily provide it. The figure of how many sellers are including the report is not yet known. As it can cost up to £1000 there are worries this expense may put people off selling their homes.
Currently the way it stands, all homes must have a Home Information Pack already compiled or at least being compiled before they can be put on the market. On 1 June 2008 all homes must have the pack already compiled before the property can even be placed up for sale. Failure to provide a HIP will result in a fine of at least £200.
If you’re thinking of selling your home, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the current legislation regarding HIPS in case any changes are made in the future.