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; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

    £43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all