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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Home information packs under fire
Viewing a house
Home Information Packs will become mandatory in June 2007
A House of Lords committee has described the opposition to the introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) as "striking" and "widespread".

From 1 June house sellers in England and Wales must have a HIP containing title deeds, local searches and an energy performance certificate.

Estate agency and legal bodies have told the government that they have not had enough time to prepare for HIPs.

The Committee said the government must take this criticism "seriously".

"The comments which we have received from key stakeholder organisations in the housing market are striking in the strength of their criticisms," Lord Filkin, chairman of the Lords Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments, said.

Many thought that dropping the requirement to have a survey would mean that the whole Hip project would be shelved

"Such comment may not invalidate the purposes of the regulations, but we believe that the government need to take such criticism seriously and to do more if the market is to respond seriously."

He added that the Committee had "rarely seen such widespread opposition to proposals".

In response, Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper, said it was ""unfortunate the Committee did not take evidence from environmental groups nor from industry groups who support HIPs".

She added that the groups that did give evidence to the Committee had a "vested interest" and were "resistant to change."

Ms Cooper added that HIPs would benefit consumers and the environment.

Likewise, Mike Ockenden, director general of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers said the Committee's report was "slanted and jaundiced.

Criticism

Chief amongst the criticism raised by housing industry and legal bodies is that there are too few qualified people to assess property for their energy performance.

Critics argue this could lead to delays in producing HIPs.

In addition, it has been argued that the packs will be of little use to homebuyers.

PACKS WILL INCLUDE
Evidence of title
Copies of planning, listed building or building regulations consents
A local search
Guarantees for any work on the property
An energy performance certificate.
Last year, the government decided that HIPs would not have to contain a home condition report - a type of building survey.

But the government and groups representing HIP providers have said that the introduction of the packs will go ahead on 1 June and that there is no shortage of qualified people to assess energy performance.

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments has been scrutinising the implementation of HIPs legislation over the past few weeks.

Previously, opposition parties have said that they would ask for a House of Lords debate on HIPs if the Committee's report proved to be critical.


SEE ALSO
Home seller's pack trial starts
06 Nov 06 |  England
'Abolish home packs' say lenders
27 Oct 06 |  Business
Six locations to test home packs
11 Aug 06 |  England
'U-turn' claim over house packs
18 Jul 06 |  UK Politics
Why buyers distrust house surveys
26 Feb 05 |  Business
Home sellers' packs to become law
18 Nov 04 |  Business

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