By Charles Bycroft of Bycroft Residential in Great Yarmouth
In January 2008 the Government decided that no property could be put on the market for sale without first having a Home Information Pack – the dreaded HIP! Initially they cost £400 to £500 but are now around £300. So, what is a HIP? It’s a document containing nothing more than items historically provided by solicitors close to the point of sale including Local Search, Land Registry information about ownership, rights of way etc, a Property Information Questionnaire and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC was foisted upon us by a European directive from 2006 which decreed that by 2009 every property being sold or let must have an energy survey – essentially documenting the
amount of CO² created when heating a property and the ability of the property to retain that heat.Clearly the European government thinks we are all too stupid to see for ourselves whether a property has double glazing, loft insulation, a modern boiler and low energy light bulbs! On a more serious note we should of course all be doing our best to reduce to our carbon footprint. It is obvious really, all we have to do is fit low energy light bulbs, insulate our lofts, turn down our thermostats and keep boilers in good working order. Our Government has said that a HIP is valid for 12 months. This is somewhat bizarre as the EPC is actually valid for 10 years. However, the local search is normally only acceptable to lenders for around 4 months – confusing isn’t it?! The future of the HIP is uncertain. The Conservatives have already stated that if they form the next Government they will do away with the HIP – but not the EPC – but as this only costs about £100 its not really a problem. So has the HIP been a success? Most people think not. The house selling process hasn’t benefitted from it. The fact that the buying public rarely ask to see a HIP demonstrates that it is of no interest to anyone. I think even the Government will admit it was a mistake. I have been in this business for over 40 years now and I can’t think of a more daft piece of legislation – but then what do I know I only work at the ‘coal face’!
Charles Bycroft is on 01493 844484