Country houses for sale

HIPs launch August 1

D-Day for HIPs is tomorrow, August 1 which means that anyone selling a house with four bedrooms or more will have to purchase a Home Information Pack. When the Government U-turned on this at the end of May, they announced that in the following the August launch, there will be phases covering properties with three bedrooms and finally the rest of the market.

The phasing in of smaller houses will occur when the Government deems that there are enough domestic energy assessors to carry out the Energy Performance Certificates. There seems to be some discrepancy as to when this milestone will be reached with the National Association of Estate Agents saying there aren’t enough DEAs to cope with the demand for generated by four-bedroom houses.

Some sellers are going down the route of marketing their properties as 3-beds with a study in order to get around the mandatory HIP. There is a risk, however, in an age of internet marketing when factors such as bedrooms determine the search criteria, that the property will not meet its full potential. Agents are already calling these studies ‘the HIP replacement room’.

Contents of a HIP:

  • Energy Performance Certificate

    The Energy Performance Certificate tells people how energy efficient a property is on a scale of A to G, with the most efficient homes being rated A. The average property in the UK is in bands D to E for both ratings.

  • Sale Statement

    The sale statement should give basic information about the property’s location, such as the address, whether the property is freehold or leasehold, and whether or not it is being sold with vacant possession.

  • Standard Searches

    These include Land Registry searches and other records held by the local authority on issues that may interest buyers, such as planning decisions and road building proposals, as well as searches showing the provision of drainage and water services to the property.

  • Evidence Of Title

    These documents prove the seller owns the property and therefore has the right to sell it. For registered properties this means official copies of the individual register and the title plan from the Land Registry.

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  • Additional Documents

    For properties that are leasehold there must be a copy of the lease and any amendments to the lease and rules that apply to the property but are not mentioned in the lease. There must also be a summary of service charges for the past 36 months and the most recent requests for payment of service charges, ground rent, and buildings insurance.

    Cost of a HIP

    Estimates range from £400 to £500. Some agents are including the HIP in the overall pack and others are offering them at a flat fee.

    The potentially dark side of the HIP

    Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles has claimed that the valuation office agency, which is responsible for assessing properties for Council Tax in England and Wales, has asked the Government for permission to use the HIP data. He believes this will be a route to increased Council Tax bills.

    Do you need to get in touch with a HIP provider?

    Register your property on the HIP Exchange and HIP providers and Domestic Energy Assessors can see the information and bid for the job.