I was delighted to note this morning that Grant Shapps the Conservative Shadow Minister in charge of our housing policy has announced that he plans to suspend the use of Home Information Packs -often referred to as HIP’s- within weeks if a Conservative Government is elected.
For those who don’t know I should say that HIP’s are a new idea introduced by Labour. basically the idea is that when someone is selling their home they have to prepare or more typically pay someone else to prepare a Home information Pack for them before they can sell their house. The Home Information Pack contains details about the owners right to sell the property – the title deeds – local search enquiries, replies to enquiries from the purchaser’s solicitors and an energy performance certificate giving details about how energy efficient the property is. The only new bit is the energy performance certificate and these will have to be retained even if HIP’s are scrapped because I understand they are required under European Legislation. The logic is that if the Seller had all this information ready it would speed up the conveyancing process. Now for over 25 years I worked in a Solicitors office where most of fee income came from conveyancing. My wife has personally handled literally thousands of conveyancing transactions and if she thought that these packs would help the clients she would be the first to say so. The fact is they do not. Typically they cost a couple of hundred pounds to put together and they do not solve any of the delays in the conveyancing process. For example if there is some vital document missing that document still has to be found or insurance obtained with the resulting delay that entails.
I can usually tell that a policy is right when by the number of submissions I receive on each side of the argument. In this case I receive complaints about all those making money out of this new Labour piece of added bureaucracy but no complaints from the clients!
If the compulsory element is scrapped then clients will be free to choose if they want one.