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Home Information Packs

Eddie Mair | 12:05 UK time, Tuesday, 22 May 2007

news just in: The Communities and Local Government Secretary, Ruth Kelly MP, is to make a Commons statement at 1530 this afternoon on Home Information Packs.

1233 update: "Ruth Kelly is expected to announce a delay to the introducation of Home Information Packs in a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon. Government sources are indicating she will give "an update on the implementation" of Hips but deny reports that they will be scrapped. However they are not denying that the new scheme - which might face a legal challenge - could be delayed by a matter of weeks."

Have you had personal experience of preparing for Home Information Packs? Rushed through the sale of your house? Or put off buying? Whatever your experience, let us know.


  1. At 12:16 PM on 22 May 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    with fingers crossed?

  2. At 12:27 PM on 22 May 2007, ian wrote:

    When Ruth Kelly speaks, does anyone else get the mental image of the monty python character with a handkerchief tied on his head?

  3. At 12:45 PM on 22 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Mr. Gumby!

    But since you ask, no. I have a mental image of her in a choir singing with the chaps in the baritone section, rather than with the ladies as a mezzo-soprano.


  4. At 01:01 PM on 22 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Izzy: I thought you were revising? ;o) Have a slice of bread and marmite.

    re HIPs:

    It strikes me that the way they're being implemented is a recipe for disaster. Yes, there is a need to streamline the house selling process, but when you've a situation where people are panicking about house sales even more, as at present, it would appear that the proposed solution is creating even greater problems.

    Did the Government 'consult' with the public over this? I certainly don't recall such consultation. You do have to get people to 'buy' into a new scheme if you want it to be a success - and I don't think that has happened in this case.

    For what it's worth ..... it strikes me that it would be more sensible to *suggest* to home sellers that they offer the various elements at the time of marketing their homes, and ask for feedback from both buyers and sellers as to how useful they have found the inclusion of any/all of the elements.

    As to energy efficiency certificates, could not much of this be covered by a comprehensive questionnaire by the householder (which would be legally binding) on the relevant elements upon which the Certificates would be issued, with the option of using an inspector/advisor - at a modest fee - to either verify the certificate or provide advice (or both) on the energy efficiency of the property?

    However they do it, the Government has a lot of ground to make up with convincing people that these packs make sense.

  5. At 01:09 PM on 22 May 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    I heard on the News that these HIPs will include the deeds. We tried to obtain a copy of our deeds a few years ago, and apart from a couple of lines in an entry at the Land Registry, nothing could be found...

  6. At 01:15 PM on 22 May 2007, ian wrote:

    I'm glad to know that (s)he's alive though. I've been trying to get her to answer my emails on how to get my religion recognised in order to be exempted from the law for months now.

  7. At 02:40 PM on 22 May 2007, We'll all sit down for a cup of tea... wrote:

    Is not the "solution" - such that there can be a "solution" to the intricacies of a sale of a valuable asset between two private parties - to house selling/buying to make the offer/acceptance of an offer a formal, regulated agreement? I know it doesn't solve everything, but there are very good reasons for believing that you can't solve everything. Isn't it something like this in Scotland? Where if you pull out of an agreement, you have to pay some percentage of the price agreed as compensation and to cover the expenses incurred? Everything else is related to the complexity of the deal - if I have a huge wodge of cash that I'm prepared to risk, I don't have to worry about niceties of searches and surveys, I can just hand over my money and say "mine now". All the difficult stuff comes into it because in most cases I have to borrow money and attempt to secure the investment I'm making. As far as I can tell - and I admit to extremely limited knowledge of the issues - the HIP does absolutely nothing to help.

  8. At 02:49 PM on 22 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Ian: Forgive me for asking, but from which law do you want to be exempt - :o?

  9. At 03:13 PM on 22 May 2007, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    Ian, I have not had the honour of hearing Ruth Kelly speak so there is no opinion. I have had the torture of hearing Bush speak and practice acts of belching and flatulence during his speeches. The funny part is that most of the US Public applauds his belching and flatulence. That would have made a great Monty Python Episode. Roberto.

  10. At 03:20 PM on 22 May 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Ruth Kelly - hahahaha. How entirely predictable.

    Yep, we put the house on the market early to avoid the dreaded HIP. Trouble is - someone just stole our sign, & left it a couple of streets away. And do you know, we hadn't even noticed? Had to be told by some distant neighbours who recognised it as ours because it said "superb garden" . Sorry, I'm bragging. But it did.

  11. At 03:55 PM on 22 May 2007, Alison wrote:

    I work as a property lawyer and at my firm we have all just heaved a sigh of relief at the delay.

    But what on earth is the idea of phasing it in for 4 bedroomed+ houses? I suspect that all of a sudden there will be a glut of 3-bedroomed 1-study houses.

    What's really disappointing is that the initial, basic idea behind HIPs is good, but the idea has been messed-up, diluted and the views of property professionals have been ignored.

    I suspect that come 1 August 2007 HIPs will quietly fade away.

  12. At 04:03 PM on 22 May 2007, ian wrote:

    Can someone define "on the market"? If Roman Abramovich turned up with a lorry load of cash, and said "I know you haven't got a sign, but I must have your dilapidated hovel. How much?" then I'm sure we could come to some arrangement. So, as I am conceivably open to offers, is my house on the market?

  13. At 04:12 PM on 22 May 2007, Gareth Drawmer wrote:

    I think Punt and Dennis on the Now Show have her voice off to a tee... growly and gravelly... in fact whenever I see her I think of them!

    The idea of HIPs is a sound one, and putting the onus on the seller I can understand as it puts a first time buyer in the best position. The pressure of havng surveys done on houses and then the deal falls through is a real difficulty.

    As someone who is trying to move towards a lower carbon lifestyle, the idea of energy ratings is a good one, it will encourage people to make the effort to insulate their homes etc to make them more marketable... I do think this could be achieved by a questionnaire though!

    I am sure that the packs could be used as a force for good if only they are carefully thought out and they have public support. What would happen if no-one used them? Would we all end up in already overcrowded prisons?

  14. At 05:03 PM on 22 May 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Oh, great. Now define a bedroom!

    When we moved into this house, the room I am sitting in was described as a bedroom. As I use it, there's no bed in here but there is a desk; it's now a study.

    If the HIPS thing applies only to houses with three or more bedrooms, there are going to be a LOT of new sewing-rooms, studies, playrooms, anything not-a-bedrooms in a lot of houses all over the country.

    How are they going to enforce *this* bit of un-thought-out legislation?

  15. At 05:10 PM on 22 May 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I swear, I posted my comment here before Eddie had the "and a study" discussion. Just because it was held to make sure it wasn't malicious doesn't mean I didn't post it.


  16. At 05:17 PM on 22 May 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    Big Sis - I am (supposed to, that is) and I have (thank you for the offer).

  17. At 05:26 PM on 22 May 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Madame Fifi's prediction of the day:

    "HIPs will be postponed again, and again, until the Government changes and they can be quietly dropped."

    Ruth Kelly's parting remark will be:
    "I propose to alter the start date, till when HELL FREEZES OVER..."


  18. At 05:54 PM on 22 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Chris Ghoti, I agree totally. I'm now at home in my office. When I bought this house, it was listed as a bedroom, but there's no way it would be classed as such now. It's a box room that could only be used for a child under the age of two....

  19. At 06:32 PM on 22 May 2007, Simon Bushell wrote:

    I can't believe this government is hell fired up to see this through. It will limit houses coming on the market, so increasing prices, (as well as seller wanting toi add cost to the price). This will drive up inflation so interest rates will rise. To hide behind the idea that it going to cut carbon emmissions is a laugh more carbon will be produced preparing these packs than saved buy them.

  20. At 07:08 PM on 22 May 2007, Stanislav Panaskowski wrote:

    As for energy efficiency certificates:
    Wouldn't a quick glance at a vendor's annual energy bills give some indication of how much it costs to heat a home, and by inference wouldn’t this say something about energy efficiency? Perhaps there's an opening here for the energy companies to provide sight of such bills - with the vendor's permission of course.

    Perhaps the energy companies, or even the government could publish energy efficiency tables on the web - along the lines of... a home meeting certain criteria, age, postcode, number of bedrooms and number of occupants would typically consume x joules per annum, and would typically have an energy efficiency rating of y! The insurance industry can assess many different types of homes for risk without visiting each household in turn. Maybe the energy companies, with all their billing data can do something similar for energy efficiency ratings.

  21. At 07:50 PM on 22 May 2007, justideas wrote:

    So why should we feel sorry for those who have put their houses on the market to avoid paying for 'HIPS'? These people have deliberately carried out an act that will potentially harm the environment, so why are they not being investigated by the Dept of the Environment for causing unecessary polution?

  22. At 08:47 PM on 22 May 2007, Steve wrote:

    Where do I begin? OK, let me start with some background. I bought in to the idea of becoming a Domestic Energy Assessor about 6 months ago. Looking for a career change I'd heard about HIPs and the EPC that would be required. Using my own money and taking time off work, I booked a course to train as a DEA. It became apparent almost immediately that, although we were in March 2007 at the time of the training, the government was far from ready. My concerns were not unjustified as they were echoed by the training, accreditation and other companies involved with this upcoming industry. Yes I had concerns back then, but whenever I thought of putting things on hold, the government would come out with a statement about going ahead on June 1st. Over the months leading up to today, I've completed my training, took my exams and made business arrangements with panels, solicitors, estate agents and other clients. I've absolutely bust a gut to be ready for June 1st. One thing I can say with confidence about the past couple of months is, no one I have spoke to has had a good thing to say about the governments handling of HIPs. Myself and colleagues I've trained with are mainly independent DEA's and most of us have resigned from work to be ready for June 1st. Can you imagine how we feel about Ruth Kelly's decision today. We now have to find some way of supporting ourselves for 2 months, and even then, will there be enough work from August 1st to keep us ticking over (based on this 4 bedroom or larger rule)? I could go on and on about the failings of the government with respect to HIPs, and how they've failed me and other DEA's. If Ruth Kelly and her associates were working in the private sector, they wouldn't last 3 months. Now, I guess I'd better try and find myself some employment, wouldn't want to loose my house as well would I....thanks Ruth!

  23. At 09:02 PM on 22 May 2007, steve wrote:

    Stanislav, you have a very good point regarding EPC's, one which I thought about whilst doing the training. No matter what anyone says, an EPC is NOT accurate. It takes a lot of default settings that may not accurately reflect a particular home. For example, a DEA can simply enter 'As Built' if they can not determine a particular aspect of the property, like whether post cavity insulation has been applied. It also makes many assumptions about the property. I agree that a view of the properties annual fuel bill will more accurately tell a buyer what to expect than a energy efficiency rating like that stuck on a fridge. I think this is just another way for politicians to bring energy consumption and warming together, and then tax us appropriately.
    BTW, does anyone actually believe global warming is a result of carbon emissions? An argument always has two side, but we don't ever get to here opposing views on this. The government has immediately gone down one route and will not entertain a debate...why not?

  24. At 01:39 AM on 23 May 2007, mittfh wrote:

    The EPCs aren't the only aspect of the HIPs that lack joined-up thinking. The (apparently optional) HCR (Home Condition Report - esentially a visual non-invasive survey) doesn't include a valuation - so the buyer will still have to commission a valuation survey themselves. However, although on the surface this sounds daft, since the survey does include estimated rebuilding cost, perhaps the valuation was omitted as it's one of the more fluid variables in the process, determined by the state of the market as well as the condition of the house. Oh, and back in the days when the HCR was supposed to be compulsory, they were also advertising for anyone to do a short training course in order to perform it. So in reality, it would only pick up anything glaringly obvious (e.g. large crack down one side of the house), and even then couldn't give as much detail about the nature of the problem and (if applicable) its remedy as a proper qualified surveyor with years of experience.

  25. At 04:20 PM on 23 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Actually, I've got a side-bar question to add. Why was Ruth Kelly making the announcement yesterday? Wasn't this all being run by Yvette Cooper? As for one of the reasons given for delaying the HIP introductions being "There aren't enough trained assessors", weren't we told about two weeks ago that there were in fact sufficient already trained? Which government statement is true? I know we've all become used to changes in government policy and "facts", but thie speed that this change happend just seems faintly ludicrus

  26. At 01:07 PM on 24 May 2007, Neil Hawkins wrote:

    I and all the keen Energy Assessors who attended Government seminars encouraging us to invest in training for this role, paid nearly £3K and studied for many, many hours to be qualified in time for 1st June are now left high and dry.
    How can a Government be so unprofessional? At least now be upfront on your future plans for certain!

  27. At 01:07 PM on 28 May 2007, Steve wrote:

    I just can't see HIP's making an appearance at all. I have spent over £11,000 training to become a certified Home Inspector only to find Home Condition Reports dropped last summer. I though all is not lost and decided I would continue and provide Energy Performance Certificates instead. I have had meetings with conveyancing solicitors who have told me they would not allow their clients to rely on the information contained in the HIP and would insist the searches etc were made again. HIP's if they contained a Home Condition Report including a valuation for mortgage purposes would work well if the facility was available for the searches to be refreshed for a modest fee. Sadly it is not possible to refresh the searches as the authorites want a full fee for each application. The RICS ensured HCR's did not contain a mortgage valuation to protect their members. Sort out the price of the searches, include a Home Condition Report with a Mortgage Valuation and the whole project will work and work well.

  28. At 06:50 PM on 04 Jun 2007, Lydia Edwards wrote:

    Like everyone else who trained to be a Home Inspector or Energy Assessor, I was prepared for 1 June and gave up much time and money to do the Home Inspection course. I was also let down last year with the withdrawal of mandatory HCRS and was the only person listed on the hcrregister.com website in London when the Housing Minsiter made her announcement (as of today, there are two of us listed in London). I wholeheartedly believe in the original concept of the Home Information Pack and what it was due to bring i.e. a faster transparent buying and selling process.

    The removal of the Home Condition Report has watered down the usefulness of the Home Information Pack although it is still a step in the right direction to get legal documents upfront and include the EPC for those that will make use of efficiency information.

    Like many Home inspectors, I wonder whether I will ever use my qualification and generate Home Condition Reports or whether I have a qualification that is too specific to be used elsewhere.

  29. At 12:41 PM on 27 Nov 2007, Massimo wrote:

    hii am massimo i am an university student and i have to do a disertation regardind this problem of home information pack.I am using the bbc news as one of my reference.

    if there is any bady avaiable to help me by e-mail me same information regerding HIP's that will be greatfull.

    the aim of the project is to analyse what goer wrong and why all those delay.
    As person we all have the rigth to know.

    P.S. for more info obout me, e-mail.

    Kind regard.

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