In order that the launch of Home Information Packs goes smoothly, the Government today announced a timetable of events which is intended to make the introduction of these mandatory packs for home sellers work successfully after their introduction on June 1 2007.

Kay dates include:

  • March 2006 – Government gave the go ahead for multiple certification schemes, meaning lower set up costs for industry and robust standards set by Government to ensure quality Home Inspectors and a trusted, objective Home Condition Report for consumers.

  • April 2006 ? Government launches a publicity campaign to the industry, and details of a three-phased product launch and dry run will be published

  • June 2006 – Draft regulations are made setting out the detailed contents of Home Information Packs, rules governing the availability of packs, exceptions from the pack duties and arrangements for enforcement

  • June 2006 ? June 2007 ? Introduction of a three phase approach to product testing that builds up to Government and industry testing across all aspects of the process, involving estate agents, solicitors, pack providers, lenders and others. This will ensure that Certifications Schemes are up and running, so that Home Inspectors can register Home Condition Reports, and offer voluntary packs to consumers in advance of mandatory implementation. The Summer of 2006 will also see the launch of a series of geographical industry led trials

  • September 2006 ? Government approves the first Certification Schemes to oversee the work of Home Inspectors. The schemes will be set up and run by industry. Government will set the standards that the schemes will operate. In September the Home Condition Report Register contract will be agreed, and a fully operational register will follow as soon as possible afterwards

  • November 2006 – June 2007 ? The product testing continues with phase two and three leading the programme into implementation on 1 June 2007. By now, lenders will be able to use information from the Home Condition Report for valuation purposes, resulting in less on site valuation and costs savings for consumers

  • April 2007 ? public awareness publicity campaign is launched

  • March 2007 – Review of the outcomes of the final phase of the product launch make final adjustments ready for going live on June 2007.

    Larry Banda, head of mortgages at Nationwide, welcomed the outline: ?There has been some uncertainty about the Government’s plans so this announcement is very welcome. We support any move to improve the consumer’s experience and speed up the house buying process and we believe that the introduction of HIPs should be especially helpful for first time buyers.

    ?In setting out this timetable the Government has confirmed that it is committed to introducing HIPs from 1 June 2007. Nationwide can now prepare for the impact that HIPs are likely to have on our

    members and we welcome the clarity that this announcement gives us.?

    However the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors on the other hand, expressed dismay at not being consulted on the timeline, and has its own reservations.

    RICS spokesperson William Tew said: ?RICS has consistently supported the principles of HIPs, but has become increasingly concerned at the approach being taken by ODPM regarding implementation. We were not consulted on the timeline published today and having a timeline will not guarantee programme success.

    ?As a public interest body we are committed to working with Government and other stakeholders to help provide a better home buying experience for consumers. Government and industry need to work together to deliver these reforms, but Government has not yet provided the environment within which this can happen.

    ?The industry cannot be expected to develop a framework to qualify and regulate professionals to work in this field while the rules of the game are continually changing, particularly when these are emerging without proper consultation and agreement.?

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