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UK Home Information Packs (HIPs) on the Rack ?

Housing-Market / UK Housing May 29, 2007 - 07:06 PM GMT

By: Submissions

Housing-Market The looming introduction of home information packs (Hips) will no doubt have had many property investors and landlords scratching their chins and wondering whether they would cost more than they could possible save.

While the packs might be a welcome boost for landlords looking to expand their portfolio, those aiming to sell off a few properties could have regarded them as one extra headache.


Now, however, the government has announced that the much-maligned Hips will be postponed until August 1st 2007 at the earliest - a decision which has been greeted with open arms and derision in equal measure.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) - the members of which are responsible for 98 per cent of residential mortgage lending - has urged the government to take a long hard look at Hips before deciding whether they really are the best measure to reform a home buying process that leaves many first-time buyers grasping at thin air when trying to get a foothold on the slippery property ladder.

While cautiously supporting the energy performance certificate, the body's director general Michael Coogan warned that the industry is now more doubtful than ever as to the likelihood of their success, if introduced.

"This cannot be an appropriate way to make policy," he remarked.

"With the fundamental lack of confidence that now exists in them [Hips], we urge the government to ditch the gold-plating and concentrate on better ways of delivering its objectives."

However, the CML criticism pales in comparison with the stinging barbs which have come the government's way from Louise Cuming, head of mortgages at moneysupermarket.com. The finance expert accused the government of adding "confusion to chaos" and called for it to "scrap the whole concept" of Hips.

"Since watering down the legislation it has become nothing but a political slurry and the most unsupported piece of legislation I have known," said Ms Cuming.

The Association of Home Information Pack Providers (Ahipp), on the other hand, has officially registered its "utter disappointment" that the legislation will not come into force as planned. Having been a stalwart supporter of the packs throughout the criticism and raised eyebrows they have faced, Ahipp's director general Mike Ockenden claims that it is consumers and the environment who will pay the cost of the government's delay.

According to Mr Ockenden, the packs would have been a great boost to both those involved in the buying and selling processes, with further time and money to be wasted until they are implemented.

So whether landlords are for or against the packs, it seems the inevitability of one eventually having to deal with them in some regard may just have become a lot less so.

By Jim Watson

http://www.assetz.co.uk/


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