The Home Information Pack (Home Information Pack) Suspension Order came into force on Friday 21 May 2010

What is being done and why?

1. Both members of the new coalition Government opposed the introduction of HIPs and made their abolition a Manifesto commitment, whilst retaining the EPC. This commitment was confirmed in the coalition agreement document published on 12 May.

2. The Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) that would have formed part of a HIP have been retained. The new regulations ensure continuity in the provision of EPCs for homes being marketed for sale.

3. In particular, the new regulations introduce a requirement for the seller to have commissioned an EPC before a residential property is placed on the market. There is a new duty on a person acting on behalf of the seller, which in most cases is likely to be an Estate Agent, to be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned before they place the property on the market. These new duties on the seller and the person acting on behalf of the seller have been introduced in response to concerns about the possible impact of suspending HIPs on the level of compliance with the requirement to make an EPC available for homes being marketed. Evidence from non-domestic buildings, where the requirement to make an EPC available falls directly to the building owner or landlord, and there is no enforceable duty on a person acting on their behalf, suggests that removing the duty that would have applied under the HIPs regulations for homes being marketed for sale may have led to similarly low levels of compliance.

4.The new regulations also retain the existing provision that the written particulars for homes being marketed for sale must include the EPC rating or have the EPC attached, but changes the timing so that it is only required when an EPC becomes available. Including the EPC rating on or attaching the EPC to written particulars ensures that the prospective buyer is provided with energy information at a time when they are still

5. All the new duties introduced by the Amending Regulations carry fixed penalties where somebody fails in the duty conferred on them by this instrument.

What does it mean for you?

If you are selling you won’t have to pay for a Home Information Pack – typically costing about £300 – £350.

You will need to provide an EPC – typically costing about £75 plus vat. Your Estate Agent will normally organise that for you.

This may mean that some speculative sellers who were put off testing the market because of the cost of the Home Information Pack may return to the market – but it is unlikely to make a significant difference to volumes of sale.

For buyers, you will now need to carry out the searches which were previously included in the Home Information Pack.

The Home Information Pack always included an official drainage and water search which typically costs about £60. This will now have to be paid for by the buyer.

One of the perceived problems with the Home Information Pack was that seller soften included non-official local authority searches, which buyers solicitors did not accept. Even with the Home Information Pack, buyers often had to pay for an official local authority search which typically costs £75 – £150, depending on local authority area. Buyers will now have this cost in every purchase transaction.

If you have any questions about the new regulations contact any of our property lawyers.

For more information about property searches go to:

Andrew Burke
Slee Blackwell Solicitors
May 2010

The end of the Home Information Pack