BABH Guide to the Home Information Pack (HIP)
(Hip's no longer exist, however we will leave the article in place as it was correct at the time of publishing)
What is a HIP?
A HIP is a set of documents that is provided by the seller to the seller’s agent and provides key information to the buyer, such as evidence of title and standard searches. The pack was brought in by the government in 2007 to help speed up the property buying process by providing important information to the buyer. By providing key information to the buyer, free of charge, early in the process, it was hoped that this would eradicate devious activities such as ‘gazumping’ and ‘gazundering’.
Why do you need a HIP?
As the vendor, it is now a legal requirement to have one from the moment you put your house on the market.
What does a HIP contain?
The HIP consists of a number of documents, some of which are required (compulsory) and some of which are authorised (optional). There are seven compulsory items; these are an index, a Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ), a sale statement, evidence of title, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), standard searches and sustainability information for newly built homes. A copy of the lease is also required for leasehold properties.
- HIP index. Lists the document contained in the pack, providing a checklist for sellers, buyers, estate agents and enforcement authorities.
- Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ). This is a checklist of simple information about the property that a buyer will need to know, and is completed by the seller.
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This provides a summary of the energy efficiency level of the property in the form of ratings for energy and carbon emission efficiency. The ratings are on a scale from A through to G, with A being the most efficient.
- Sale statement. This provides basic information about the property such as;
- the address of the property
- whether the property is freehold, leasehold or commonhold
- whether the property is registered or unregistered
- whether of not the property is being sold with vacant possession
- the capacity in which the vendor is selling the property
- Evidence of title. These are the documents, available on request from the Land Registry, that prove who owns the property and will differ according to whether the property is registered or unregistered. If the property is registered, there must be official copies of the individual register and an official copy of the title plan. For sales of unregistered land, the pack must include copies of the official search of the index map. It must also contain the documents that the seller intends to rely on to provide evidence of title to the property.
- Standard searches. The HIP must include:
- An official search certificate from the local council or personal search company of the local land charges register for the property being sold
- A copy of the search carried out by the local authority on matters of interest to buyers
- Details of provision of water services and drainage to the property from the local water company or personal search company
- Sustainability information for newly built homes. This only applies to homes where a local council has received a building notice, initial notice or full plans application after 1 May 2008. A new home is measured in nine categories against the Code for Sustainable Homes to evaluate its environmental impact. As such the HIP must contain;
- A certificate showing the assessment of the home against the standards of the Code for Sustainable Homes
- A nil-rated certificate where this has not been carried out
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- Home Condition Report. This is essentially a survey and contains information about the physical condition of the property. It must be carried out by a certified Home Inspector. It is advantageous to potential buyers of the property to see a home condition report and therefore be aware of any repair works that will need to be undertaken. However, the fact that this document is optional and not compulsory has lead to the HIP’s greatest criticisms.
- Legal Summary. A legal summary is basically an explanation of all the legal documents contained in the pack. This can be provided by a HIP provider or solicitor.
- Home use/contents forms. These are intended to give buyers information on a range of matters relating to the property, such as boundaries, notices, services, sharing with neighbours and planning permissions. Contents forms state which of the fixtures and fittings are included in the sale and those which are up for negotiation.
- Non-standard searches. Non-standard searches cover factors such as flood risk, right of way, ground stability and other potential environmental hazards. They can speed up a sale in certain geographical locations.
- Guarantees and warranties. These can be included in the pack for any work that the seller may have had carried out on the property.