Home Condition Reports Get DumpedAuthor: Jon Hays Phd. / Category: Conservative Change
The Government’s new plans for Home Information Packs that are to be introduced next year have changed once again. First you had a situation where people would have to produce a detailed survey of a property when it was up for sale. These surveys were called Home Condition Reports. They would be required from next year. But now, that has all changed. The change comes after fierce opposition by various groups including estate agents, money lenders and the Conservative Party. The decision has been made by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
It is a U-turn that most people will agree has come as a bit of a surprise. Before it dumped the home condition reports proposal, the Government was trumpeting the report as one of the main aspects of the whole information pack. Without this report, the Government said, there would be problems with the buying and selling of homes. On top of this, the Government also stressed how this report would cut down time for buyers and sellers and reduce failed deals. There would be no discussion or argument on the state of the property with various other opinions and surveys.
Now, according to the latest statement from the House of Commons, the Government believes there would be “significant risks and potential disadvantages to consumers from a mandatory ‘big bang’ introduction to full home condition reports on June 1 2007”. The statement goes on to say that there needs to be more tests to make sure that the home condition reports are beneficial to buyers and that everything in connection to them runs the way it is supposed to. But it says the tests cannot be completed by June next year.
So what will the revised Home Information Pack or ‘HIP’ look like? Well, for a start, the focus will be on the Energy Performance Certificate. People will need this certificate from June next year and the EU requires that these come in one year later. It is believed that there would not be enough inspectors to conduct the home condition reports in Great Britain. This sparks fears that the energy certificate work would suffer as a result. Yet the question is this, why did they not just change the time frame?
Here is another thing – home inspectors could have carried out both surveys at the same visit. The Energy Performance Certificate was going to be part of the Home Condition Report. With respect to the other aspects of the HIP, they include getting together the deeds of a property, local searches and plans and energy performance. So basically, this all needs to be collected before someone can sell their home.
As you can imagine, not all are happy about the changes, including the consumer advocate ‘Which’. The organisation agreed with the government’s original opinion and believed this report would have provided important information to a buyer. And now they believe without this report, the new information pack will not be all that useful. And despite the little use of this Home Information Pack or HIP as it is known in short, it will still cost buyers and sellers money. ‘Which’ believes that the department has simply crumbled from industry pressure. As a result, the consumer is not going to get the important sort of information that they need.
The Law Society, on the other hand, welcomes the plan, saying buyers would not be comforted knowing that the survey they had been given had been paid for by the seller and arranged by them as well.
Yet it might be that those selling their home might simply chose anyway to include condition reports in the sale of their home voluntarily. If they don’t, the Department for Communities and Local Government says what is to be included in the HIP package may again change.