HIPs Set to Cost Taxpayers £4 million

The announcement of a £4 million dry run for Home Information Packs (HIPs) has alarmed the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said it aims to aid the smooth introduction of HIPs in June this year. According to the DCLG the dry run will give consumers the opportunity to experience the benefits of the Packs prior to their mandatory introduction.

HIPs are designed to help improve the home buying and selling process by arming buyers with all the correct property information including searches, copies of the deeds and information regarding its energy efficiency. The dry run is to take place from November, carried out by the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP) Pack Providers in Bath, Newcastle, Southampton, Northampton, Huddersfield and Cambridge.

But the NAEA is concerned that the trials will not be truly independent since they will be organised by Pack Providers, who have a vested interest in the new scheme. The NAEA is also disappointed that taxpayers’ money is being used on the scheme which it has urged them to abandon.

‘The Association has always said that it was vital that any trials thoroughly test not only the systems but whether our concerns about the effect on the market caused by a lack of first day marketing and reduction in housing supply are justified,’ said Peter Bolton King Chief Executive of the NAEA, ‘We have not been told how these trails are to be conducted and have doubts as to their effectiveness in a voluntary scenario.’

The NAEA has been opposed to HIPs from the outset, believing there is no need to insist on such information being made available to purchasers prior to an agreed sale as there is little evidence that sales fall through because of legal, title or search problems.

‘The speed of conveyancing will shortly be improved by the introduction of ‘E-Conveyancing’ and the Land Registry’s ‘Chain Matrix’ system again negating the need for information ‘up front’,’ said a spokesperson for NAEA. ‘There is no point in having information that may well become out of date during the period of sale thus causing additional unnecessary expense to the consumer.’