Slee Blackwell’s Terese Kingman on the unlamented demise of the unpopular Home Information Packs.

Do I still need a HIP before I can sell my property?

No. On the 20 May 2010 the new Government suspended the need for Home Information Packs.

What is going to replace HIPs?

The Coalition Government has no plans at present to introduce a replacement scheme.

Do I need any part of the HIP in order to sell my property?

Yes. It is still a mandatory requirement that you provide an Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) which should be commissioned prior to marketing your property. An EPC is a report produced by an accredited Energy Assessor which shows the energy efficiency of your home.

You are also required by law to provide an EPC when letting a residential property.

How long is an EPC valid?

An EPC for the sale of residential properties is valid for 10 years.

What should I do now if I want to sell my property?
Speak to your estate agent and ask them to order an EPC. It usually takes a few days for the Energy Assessor to visit your property in order to prepare a report. Once the EPC is commissioned you can begin marketing your property.

What if a prospective buyer asks for a HIP?
Since the suspension of HIPs a seller is no longer legally obliged to provide one. However, if you are selling your property it would be worthwhile speaking with your solicitors at an early stage. We can prepare a bundle of key title documents for your buyer that will help speed up the transaction and achieve a quicker turnaround of the sale.

If I am looking to buy, should I ask whether there is a HIP for the properties I am interested in?
For the next few months it would be prudent to ask to see a HIP as one might have been put in place by the seller before the requirement was scrapped. Although HIPs were an unnecessary hindrance and expense they did sometimes contain important information which may not be apparent on initial investigation of the property.

How will the demise of HIPs benefit me as a seller?
The fact that you will no longer be obliged to pay for the buyer’s searches will save you money. Your only outlay now will be for the EPC.

The Demise of HIPS – June 2010