Home Information Packs: The dawn of a new era?

Home Information Packs: The dawn of a new era?

Like it or not, the Government has introduced legislation that will require sellers of residential properties in England and Wales to produce Home Information Packs (HIPs). This has to be put in place before the property is marketed as any prospective buyer has the right to ask for a copy of the pack. It will also require Estate Agents to belong to an approved redress scheme.

Why we might ask should there be such a change in the way we purchase residential properties? The idea behind HIPs is to simplify the conveyancing process by requiring ‘up-front’ disclosure of various things currently obtained at expense and which can also take time. The Government felt that the housing market needed a level of standardisation, for example at present problems with a property only come to light after an offer has been accepted, by which time the buyer and seller may have incurred significant costs. This can cause the terms to be re-negotiated, delay exchange of contracts and even result in transactions failing altogether. It is thought that this new system could also alleviate gazumping and other problems, by providing key information up front.

What will the Home Information pack contain?

  • Local Authority searches
  • Ownership documentation
  • Details of any relevant planning or building regulation consents’
  • Warranties and guarantees
  • Draft sale contract
  • Survey Report

Are there any situations where a seller may withhold the pack? Well yes if it is genuinely felt the prospective buyer has insufficient funds, that they feel the person is not really interested or the person requesting is not someone to whom the seller would be prepared to sell to. The vendor can impose a reasonable charge for making the HIP available and can impose restrictions on the disclosure of the documents contained in the HIP.

A dry run is planned for the summer of 2006 with the law being enforced from 2007. It is hoped that this new conveyancing process will help create a faster and more efficient home selling and buying system.

Legal advice should always be taken regarding property purchases and sales and advice on HIPs can be obtained by contacting your legal representative.

The Blocks Conveyancing Team can be contacted on 1473 230033.