The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has announced today that the official ?go live? date for Home Information Packs (HIPS) is to be June 1 2007. The formal announcement is intended to allow all parties concerned to have time to be prepared to deal with HIPS, but there are reservations about the timescale involved.

RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf said: ?By working together, industry and government have made significant progress towards reforming the buying and selling process, but we still have a long way to go. The Government?s own research shows that we will need up to 7,400 Home Inspectors to ensure the smooth introduction of the new regime.

?However, to date, only a handful of candidates have satisfactorily completed the Diploma in Home Inspection, the key prerequisite for obtaining a Home Inspector?s license.

?If we are to ensure that the reforms are implemented as smoothly and effectively as possible, we need to pull together to deliver sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, well-regulated and experienced practitioners who enjoy public confidence.?

The National Association of Estate Agents has said it is also concerned about the timing, pointing out that the packs are to be introduced just as the market is picking up in the summer months. It had previously argued that the quietest time of the year would be more advantageous to allow for any creases which may need to be ironed out in the system.

A spokesman added: ?It is also essential that a dry run which will take place later in 2006 fully checks that all the elements work together in a practical manner and alleviate all risks to the market, economy and most importantly the consumer.?

Christopher Lacy of Savills concurred: ‘As housing market activity peaks in May and June, it is absolutely astonishing that the Government has set a date for the introduction of HIPs at this peak time in the house-selling season. There could be no worse date to do this,’ he said.

‘At whatever time HIPs become compulsory for every property sale, there will inevitably be a period of confusion in the market. At the same time, many “toe-dippers” will not place their houses on the market, because of the costs and hassle involved. This will result in a sudden drop in supply of properties on the market and lead to a surge in house prices. To impose HIPs at the very worst time will only exacerbate these issues – totally un-necessarily.’