home information packs (HIP) Extended to three bedroom homes



From 10 September 2008, all homes in England and Wales with 3 or more bedrooms will need a Home Information Pack (HIP), which includes a home energy rating. The Pack, which previously only applied to dwellings of four bedrooms or more, includes an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), containing advice on how to cut carbon emissions and fuel bills. Also included are documents such as a sale statement, searches and evidence of title.


This is an extension of the controversial scheme which was introduced on 1st August 2007 (despite opposition from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) to try and reduce the amount of house sales falling through by making the process more transparent. The scheme has no shortage of critics (most famously Kirstie Allsop from the TV show Location, Location, Location), largely because of discrepancies with its contents. The main criticisms are as follows:

• No details of flood risk to the property in question (about one in ten new properties are now built on flood plains).
• The scheme has devalued some properties (old houses are, by nature, not very energy efficient).
• The EPC is confusing to the layman and may well be disregarded (people are confused about what to compare it to).
• The searches will not necessarily be carried out by a solicitor (the HSBC bank are already making people pay for another search because they don’t trust the one in the HIP).
• They do not prevent “gazumping”.
• Too many loopholes (there have been instances of vendors saving money by moving a bed out of a bedroom and declaring it something different).


The scheme does have powerful backers though and it looks like it will be extended to all properties in the near future. So the argument is set to go on. One thing for sure is that the initial government u-turn when it postponed the scheme, only to be followed by a watered down version has not gained much confidence in the scheme. Scotland is likely to receive its own version of HIP next year.