Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Housing Minister Grant Shapps today announced that with immediate effect, they are suspending the requirement for homeowners to provide a Home Information Pack (HIP).
Pending primary legislation which would be required for a permanent abolition, Mr Pickles today laid an Order suspending HIPs with immediate effect. This action follows uncertainty following the declaration in the joint agreement between the Conservatives and Liberals documented in their coalition paper.
In a statement released by Government Mr Pickles and Mr Shapps also said that the Government is determined to help people reduce their energy bills, improve our energy security and tackle climate change by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes. Sellers will therefore still be required to commission, but won’t need to have received, an EPC before marketing their property, and the Government will consider how the EPC can play its part in the new drive for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy.
Eric Pickles went on to say:
"The expensive and unnecessary Home Information Pack has increased the cost and hassle of selling homes and is stifling a fragile housing market.
"That’s why I am taking emergency action to suspend the HIP, bringing down the cost of selling a home and removing unnecessary regulation from the home buying process.
"This swift and decisive action will send a strong message to the fragile housing market and prevent uncertainty for both home sellers and buyers.
"HIPs are history. This action will encourage sellers back into the market, and help the market as a whole and the economy recover."
The effect of the order is to provide that sellers and estate agents are no longer required to have or to provide copies of HIPs with effect from 21 May 2010 but in order to ensure that people selling their homes continue to make an Energy Performance Certificate available to prospective buyers, a new Regulation has been laid before Parliament the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 which introduce a number of new requirements including:
1. a new duty on the seller to secure that an energy performance certificate (EPC) has been commissioned before marketing of the property commences where no such certificate is already available
2. an EPC has been commissioned when a Domestic Energy Assessor has been instructed to prepare the EPC and the EPC has either been paid for or has given a clear undertaking to pay for it
3. a new duty on the person acting on behalf of the seller to be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned before commencing marketing
4. a new duty on both the seller and a person acting on their behalf to make reasonable efforts to secure an EPC within 28 days
5. all of the new duties carry fixed penalties where somebody fails in the duty conferred on them by the new regulations