So where will your home stand once the sellers' pack storm is over?

As HIPs count down to their launch date, will they really speed up the housebuying chain?

Less than three weeks to go and the two sides of the home information pack (HIP) debate are locked in arguments amid accusations of ill-preparedness and public ignorance of the change.

Sellers' packs go live on 1 June in England and Wales but a rough ride - and likely recriminations - still lie ahead.

The new packs, which will cost the vendor £300 to £400, make sellers responsible for compiling such information as local searches and a "green" certificate showing the energy efficiency of a home. The idea is to speed up the housing chain by giving the buyer all the details at the start of the process; the reform is also intended to combat gazumping.

However, plans for HIPs to include a "home condition report" - a de facto survey - were ditched in a government U-turn last July. That has left the packs open to criticism that they will bring no benefit.

An early-day motion signed by David Cameron has been laid down by the Conservatives for this Wednesday in a last-gasp attempt to scupper Labour's plans. Technically, this final vote will determine whether the packs are annulled or go ahead on 1 June.

But given the level of support so far from Labour MPs, the launch seems unlikely to be postponed.

The early-day motion is just the latest in a long line of political rumblings as the country heads towards HIP implementation.

Earlier this month, a House of Lords committee poured cold water on the packs when it issued a report calling into question whether they would "effectively achieve their policy objective".

The HIP industry itself - pack providers, estate agents, search organisations, insurers and finance companies - is still unhappy that it was not consulted for the Lords report. "[Most] organisations have made a substantial investment to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of HIPs on 1 June, yet [our] collective voices appear to have been ignored," says Mike Ockenden, director-general of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP), which represents 87 members of the fledgling industry.

This grievance is shared by opponents of the new system. "The reason HIPs have come to a vote so late in the day [nine years after the idea was first floated] is that concerns from lenders and other parties in the property industry have been ignored and the Government has ploughed on regardless," says Bernard Clarke at the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

"There are still doubts over whether the packs have been sufficiently tested, and concerns surrounding their implementation. We would like to see HIPs postponed to prevent an added cost to the homebuyer for something that will not deliver what it originally set out to."

But the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), in its response to the House of Lords report, maintains that its aims will be met.

The first of these, it says, is to improve the buying and selling process by offering greater transparency and "improving the flow of timely information". The second aim is to cut carbon emissions by insisting that tests for a new energy performance certificate (EPC) are carried out every time a home goes on the market.

This will also meet the requirements of an EU directive to reduce emissions from buildings, which must be fully implemented by January 2009.

But whether there will be enough home inspectors and "domestic energy assessors" (DEAs) in place when the packs go live has been called into question by the Conservatives and by property professionals.

The AHIPP has denied the existence of a problem. It says there will be more than 3,500 trained operatives by 1 June, comprising 1,130 home inspectors and over 2,400 DEAs.

However, supporters and critics are agreed that the absence of a home condition report will make it hard for HIPs to achieve the original aim of presenting all relevant information upfront. Mr Ockenden says the AHIPP will continue to lobby for the reinstatement of the HCR as a mandatory element of the packs.

All sides of the debate agree on the principle of an EPC, but the National Association of Estate Agents and other industry players want to see this survey separated from the HIP.

When they go live next month, the packs will contain an index of contents, a sale statement setting down its terms, evidence of title and an EPC. The estate agent (or solicitor) selling your home will usually compile the HIP, but you could do it yourself. It may be cheaper this way, although you will need to do plenty of research.

After 1 June, some sellers will be granted 28 days to gather documents such as leasehold or commonhold information, from the date the home goes on the market. This "grace period" will apply only if they can prove they have had problems obtaining the documents.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones