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Agents' unrest over HIP plans

PUBLISHED: 09:45 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:33 23 August 2010

ESTATE agents have united behind a campaign opposing government plans to force people to have Home Information Packs (HIPs) in place before they try to market their home. Nearly 9,000 people have signed the Sellers Pack Law is Not the Answer petition, ca

ESTATE agents have united behind a campaign opposing government plans to force people to have Home Information Packs (HIPs) in place before they try to market their home.

Nearly 9,000 people have signed the Sellers Pack Law is Not the Answer petition, calling for first day marketing to be allowed to continue.

HIPs contain a home's title deeds and an energy performance certificate and are meant to speed up the selling process by shifting the responsibility for compiling the documents from buyer to seller.

This month it was also revealed that only one in six buyers requested to see a HIP before making an offer, according to an Ipsos Mori poll.

Leah Buller, 23, sales negotiator at Mann Countrywide estate agents, Windmill Street, Gravesend, said: "I haven't signed the petition yet but I definitely would. This would really mess things up for buyers. They could end up waiting for a month for the completed form because various people, like water companies, have to give the thumbs up to each HIP, and if they get backlogged it slows things right down."

"We really haven't had that many people asking for a HIP - people just aren't interested in them.

"The government should have listened to actual estate agents before launching red tape like this. Perhaps they should have considered a trial period first to see if it works."

Currently, property marketing can begin as soon as a HIP is ordered, but after May 31 the government will ask for the pack to be physically complete before marketing commences.

Nick Salmon, head of the SPLINTA campaign, said: "At the moment, you can market your house the minute you decide to sell, and that is your right. But when these laws come into place in May you will face a delay of at least 14 days, and in reality, longer than that.

"So chances are somebody who already has their HIP can get in there before you, market their house and make an offer on a property while your twiddling your thumbs."

A spokesperson for Communities and Local Government said: "We extended the temporary first day marketing provisions for an additional five months to allow for full flexibility to ensure the continued smooth implementation of HIPs.

"We have already said we will take stock of the transitional arrangements. No decisions have been taken yet.

"As a result of HIPs, search costs are falling and buyers are now getting real information about the likely running costs of a future home, helping to cut energy bills and carbon emissions."

"Consumers have a right to see the HIP of a home they are considering buying, so they can benefit from this important

information.

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