Posted by: Paul | May 20, 2010

HIP replacement

I’m impressed. The first actual move our new Tory/Lib ‘partnership government’ have made and it’s something I wholeheartedly agree with – the suspension of the Home Information Pack scheme with immediate effect, with legislation on the way to scrap them entirely. Loud cheers from Essex!

The HIPs, since their inception, have been an enormous waste of time and money and an actual stumbling block to the sale of properties that they were meant to smooth. It meant people with a property to sell aswell as buying a new one were charged twice for the same work. Where once the very sensible rule of ‘buyer beware’ prevailed and you were responsible for instructing the various services to advise you about the place you were buying (surveys, searches etc), under the HIP system you had to pay to provide this information about your own property, in addition to being charged for the same on the one you’re buying – since you cannot rely utterly on the information a HIP provides. For instance, you still need to pay to carry out a survey on the property since the toothless HIP stopped short of forcing their inclusion. Then it might have been a worthwhile introduction. And frequently, although the local authority searches are included in the pack, your solicitor will insist on carrying them out independently for reasons of professional indemnity (or money-grabbing – very often the same thing).

They also meant that the Estate Agents had even less work to do for the over inflated fees they charge to drink their cups of tea and foist their overpriced, unsuitable properties on people. As you might be able to tell, I’m not a fan. Time was, the agents had to prepare the property inventories and questionnaires, but this was taken care of by the HIP providers in the past few years. I’m very glad they’ll have to get off their backsides and do a bit more work.

In all, I’m not mourning the death of an unnecessary industry. It’s a shame that some people will inevitably lose their jobs over it (but not anything like the 10,000 the industry body claims), but if it had been done properly in the first place, then scrapping them would not have been necessary. There are an awful lot of things still wrong with the way we buy and sell houses in this country for sure, but none of them were fixed by the watered-down, ineffectual nonsense that was the Home Information Pack. HIP – RIP.

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