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HIPs Are History

The big news today is that the Coalition LibCon or ConLib (whichever you prefer) Government has now formally scrapped HIPs. So, here we have this government’s first scrappage scheme ….. ;-) . I wonder what’s next!

HIPs – Home Information Packs, were introduced in 2007 by the Labour goofment, and its aim was to speed up the house selling process by obliging sellers to provided much of the required conveyancing information when properties are first put up for sale. It meant sellers had to shell out hundreds of pounds upfront, without knowing if house will sell or not. And if you are already cash strapped …..But of course, our policy makers at the time were immune to such costs due to the “flipping” regime that was in place, so couldn’t see the upfront outlay being a problem for struggling home owners.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are staying. I don’t think sellers or even renters care one way or the other about it, but hey ho!

Here’s what the Coalition spokesmen had to say:

Grant Shapps the Housing Minister and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, announced earlier today that they have suspended HIPs with immediate effect, pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition.

Shapps claimed that cutting away pointless red tape that is strangling the market” would help the current housing recovery and save consumers a total of £870m over 10 years.

Pickles said: HIPs are history. This action will encourage sellers back into the market, and help the market as a whole and the economy recover.”

However sellers will still need to commission – though not necessarily receive – an energy performance certificate before marketing their property.

The widely anticipated move was welcomed across the property industry today even though the Association of Home Information Pack Providers has indicated that thousands of jobs are likely to be lost.

It is a double edged sword, isn’t it. On the one hand, it stops unnecessary red tape (I can’t spell burea……), but on the other, some jobs are going to be lost. I myself very nearly trained to become a HIPs provider, but didn’t. Benefit of foresight… or just pure luck?  I do feel for those who’s income streams will be affected, and wish them every good luck in finding alternative sources of income.

There have been various comments from sections of the industry, including but not limited to RICS, Carter Jonas, Spareroom.co.uk, British Property Federation (BPF), Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward.

Nobody liked HIPs, it was thought to be complete nonsense and waste of time and energy and money, as it didn’t really solve the problems that it was meant to do.

In my view, unless and until we employ a system similar to that in Scotland where offers are more binding, we will continue to experience the stresses and strains that come with buying and selling properties. That’s just my view anyway.

And whilst they are at it, may I respectfully ask the Coalition to look into repealing the ill-thought-out and frankly obnoxious last minute regulation brought in by the previous Labour goofment – requirement for planning permission for shared housing. It is absolutely ludicrous that planning should be sought to be used in this way, to determine who lives in a property.

Rather than helping the very people that that goofment wanted to help, it is actually hurting them. For example, I had a 3-bed house in a city, which could have easily been taken by a group of young people, but I had to look the other way and rent to a family, because of this law. As an accredited Landlord with a Local Authority, I get no end of calls from young people, particularly single young men, who seem to fall between the cracks of Local Authority housing assistance (but that’s another story in itself), looking for rooms to rent. They are living on the sofas of friends and families and desperate to get somewhere of their own. This is compounded by the fact that the LHA rates for single/shared rooms has taken a significant dive. Therefore, even those who might have rooms cannot afford to rent them out at the those ridiculously low rates, and I know some have actually stopped renting rooms and now converted the house back to single family homes. The whole thing is just balmy. In my view, that is.

Anyway, as always, I digress. But you get the point.

If you want to read more about the various comments by the industry, then you can do so here at the Beeb or here at Propertyweek.

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