STAY CONNECTED!
    
newsletter-button
Written by rosalind renshaw

An order to suspend HIPs has been signed, with the announcement of a suspension due this week as Parliament convenes.

According to well-placed sources, the order was signed on Friday morning.

The HIP industry is anxiously awaiting developments, and could mount a legal challenge to the suspension.

A note from the HIP Reform Group sent to its members says it is “firmly of the view that this would amount to an unlawful use of the statutory power (section 162). It could therefore be challenged in the Court. 

“Suspension of the HIP would kill our industry overnight. Not only would the HIP providers be affected, but the EPC market would also be instantly killed as responsibility for ordering the EPC would be left with the vendor. Thousands of jobs will be lost and livelihoods will be lost.”

The HIP Reform Group has called on all its members to lobby MPs and housing minister Grant Shapps.

Meanwhile Knight Frank called for the abolition of HIPs to go yet further, with the EPC pushed to the back of the transaction.

The firm said: “Only if this happens will the full damaging legacy of HIPs have been removed.”

Comments

  • icon

    Can I sell my home without a Hip?
    Ask an expert
    18 May 2010
    I am about to put my home up for sale but have heard that home information packs are going to be scrapped, do I still have to get one?


    I have been told by estate agents that I still need one before I can put my home up for sale, but if they are going to be abolished anyway, why can't I just put my home on the market without one? If I did that, would I get in trouble?
    Simon Lambert, assistant editor at This is Money, replies: The Conservative and Lib Dem government confirmed in their coalition agreement last week that they will be scrapping home information packs, otherwise known as Hips.

    Homesellers will still need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate, when they put their property on the market – something that is down to EU law.

    The problem is that while the Con-Dems said they'd be getting rid of Hips, they haven't said when yet.

    That leaves anyone selling a home in a tricky position. After all, a Hip costs on average between £200 and £400, depending on the size of your property, and for big homes can cost even more.

    Clearly, anyone thinking about putting their home up for sale is going to be thinking twice about doing it right now, if it means paying £250-plus for a home information pack that turns out to be not needed.

    So, what will happen and when can we expect an announcement? I called the Department for Communities, which is responsible for Hips, and asked this. I also asked whether someone selling a home still had to have one.

    The answers were not the most helpful. Yes, the Department of Communities, could confirm Hips would be scrapped – it's a manifesto pledge and in the coalition agreement. The new Communities minister Eric Pickles even considers scrapping Hips to be a priority, apparently.

    Unfortunately, that didn't mean we could actually have an answer on when people might stop needing them before they put their home on the market, or even when that information might be forthcoming.



    don't even know if we will have to wait for the emergency Budget on 22 June, or an announcement will be made before then.

    That means it is still the law that all homes put up for sale need a home information pack and until told otherwise, it will continue to be so.


    'But who's going to check and will I really get in trouble for not having one?' I hear you ask.

    As a responsible website, This is Money has to remind you that the law says you have to have a Hip, and even if that law may currently appear to be an ass, we can't condone putting your property on the market without one.

    But the question of whether is it likely that the law would bring its full weight to bear on someone failing to provide a home information pack - when they are going to be scrapped anyway - is a valid one.

    The current responsibility for enforcing Hips falls with local Trading Standards, which can fine you up to £200 for not having one. The same penalty can be issued for not providing an Energy Performance Certificate and those putting their home up for sale will still need one of these even when Hips are axed - they cost about £100 on a standalone basis.

    The Government's Businesslink website explains: 'Local authorities will usually provide advice and warnings in the first instance, but have the power to issue penalty notices where they believe it is appropriate. Trading standards officers must also notify the Office of Fair Trading if a penalty charge notice is issued to an estate agent, which could result in a banning order.'

    While we are stuck in limbo, you could try to simply sell your property without a Hip, but with an Energy Performance Certificate. If you do this, you will be acting against the law and risk a fine. The problem that sellers wanting to do this may find is that estate agents will not let them. It is more likely to be the agent than the seller that gets in trouble if they allow someone to sell a property without a home information pack.

    This has led the National Association of Estate Agents to call for immediate action on Hips and This is Money can echo that, because until that happens, people might simply decide to sit on their hands, or break the law.

    • 18 May 2010 19:29 PM
  • icon

    Chances are that no-one outside the inner circles (& possibly not even there if the inner circles haven't yet been drawn) has a clue what will be done as regards suspension/consultation. The thinking is clearly that "big society" should put this type of thing in place instead of "big government". A classic example of how they want to move away from government involvement. A good idea, if it works.

    Trouble is the HIP contains technical/legal stuff that consumers almost universally have no interest in (apart from the condition survey of course, which they don't get!) They basically think: I want to sell/buy this house; I pay people to advise me on the issues that make that happen or not. Those people, the professional stakeholders, are so fragmented & the vested interests so diverse & convoluted, the chances are that it will be kicked into the long grass, where it sat for over 30 years until Labour tried & dismally failed, to do something about it.

    • 18 May 2010 15:26 PM
  • icon

    HIPS

    I am amazed that Estate Agents really want to get rid of HIPs.
    I know quite a few agents and Solicitors that actually think they are working, especially if you get the right supplier but like most things in life there are always going to be theives and this industry has plenty of them milking the system to make HUGE profits.

    Just think of the loses they will make on each HIP by charging extra on top of what their suppliers charge just to get more money each month.

    I know many that charge well over £100 for each order, so if HIPs go they will suffer which in a way is a good thing.

    But then again all they will do is increase their commision on the sale of the property to make amends.

    Roll on June 22 and then we will all be asking ourselves why we put Tories in power.

    As I said before 1984 is coming again.

    • 18 May 2010 14:45 PM
  • icon

    When the introduction of HIPs was confirmed, many existing and established search providers made the investment to provide this extra service. This was the logical business move to make. Many of these companies will simply focus on searches again and will still be operating in the future. One of the problems with HIPs were the mickey mouse companies that set up to milk the cash cow, to suck as much money as they could, without the effort, skills or experience to warrant it. I've seen some shocking HIPs in my time, truly awful, backed up by severe lack of knowledge and service. These are the providers that will be affected the most. You also have to ask if these providers even deserved to be operating in the HIP 'industry' anyway?! With EPCs remaining, I genuinely hope DEAs (who have been lead up the garden path) can now operate in a fairer playing field, working directly with the EA. Removing HIPs is a great step, a lift for this industry as a whole. Look how many people have commented on this thread to say the public want to know what is happening - that's because with HIPs gone, more people will consider to sell. Fact. There will be big cuts made by the Tories in the public sector, affecting people who provide far more of a service to our country than any HIP provider ever has or will.

    • 18 May 2010 14:11 PM
  • icon

    The original concept of HIPs was admirable. It wasn't delivered. It was watered down and with most compromises, left us with somthing that frankly suited no-one and which does not work. I know of very few people who want to retain them, but opinion in differing areas may be diverse.

    I understand that the Govt will wait until Parliament reconvenes before making any announcement and that they will still rely upon s162 to suspend compulsory HIPs whilst a consultation period is underway.

    Frankly, go or stay, I am past caring. I, like the rest of you, just want to know. Indecision helps no one.

    • 18 May 2010 12:16 PM
  • icon

    almost every other agent I speak to agrees that HIPs ARE a step in the right direction and should be amended not scrapped. Only one agent has said that he just wants HIPs to go - and without mentioning names, HE is killing his business by being too greedy, not HIPs.

    • 18 May 2010 11:25 AM
  • icon

    SHOCK HORROR

    Nothing suprises me with the Tories.

    Yes they have been saying it for ages to get rid of HIPs but as with most this 1984 comes back and trust me this is the only the start of a repeat period.

    Jusdt you wait and see on June 22 2010.

    HIPS should be amended not scrapped.

    I would like to know what they have as a solution because you still have to get the searches regardless so makes no sense to me whatever.

    Unemployment is high WATCH THIS SPACE.

    • 18 May 2010 11:10 AM
  • icon

    so many dreamers on here who seem to forget primary legislation takes a long, long, long time to revoke.. hips to be amended, not scrapped.

    • 18 May 2010 10:52 AM
  • icon

    As if there isnt enough issues for this Government to be dealing with rather than this petty issue which was badly thought out and totally unwanted. Bury the HIP asap and crack on with getting the banks to lend to 1st time buyers...then we can all recruit more staff and give the poor old HIP boys/Girls a job. xxxx

    • 18 May 2010 10:08 AM
  • icon

    We have it on good authority that this article is a little misleading; the deal has not been signed yet, not to say it won’t be but at the moment we are just waiting to find out.

    • 18 May 2010 09:53 AM
  • icon

    Good to see all your comments today and have you noticed the reads - nearly 9600 by 10 pm, must give Madam Editor a flush of pleasure, and still 135 on the site now. After over ten years of publicly fighting HIPs and suffering occasional personal rudeness from the pro-lobby along the way, I do hope we really are almost there now. However this has got to be done at a stroke and immediately to avoid problems at every turn. I've tried to do this today - see
    www.homeinformationpacks.com for my plea for speed. Cheers to all, Big T

    • 17 May 2010 21:57 PM
  • icon

    Good to see all your comments today and have you noticed the reads - nearly 9600 by 10 pm, must give Madam Editor a flush of pleasure, and still 135 on the site now. After over ten years of publicly fighting HIPs and suffering occasional personal rudeness from the pro-lobby along the way, I do hope we really are almost there now. However this has got to be done at a stroke and immediately to avoid problems at every turn. I've tried to do this today - see
    www.homeinformationpacks.com for my plea for speed. Cheers to all, Big T

    • 17 May 2010 21:55 PM
  • icon

    Willjack - where on earth does EAT get these stories from? Signed orders when there clearly is no such thing!

    • 17 May 2010 20:41 PM
  • icon

    Response from my local conservative MP today (17-05-10)

    "Thank you for your email. The Conservatives made clear from the start of HIPs that we wished to remove compulsion to use them, but to keep a compulsory Energy Assessment as required by EU law. There is no intention to ban HIPs - people will be free to offer them to all selling a property.

    I cannot find proof of any immediate Order being signed.

    Yours sincerely

    John Redwood"

    • 17 May 2010 18:50 PM
  • icon

    Rick Jones,
    WHO will put in place 'serious measures', what do you envisage and why should they?
    The writing has been on the wall about going to the wall for a long time.

    • 17 May 2010 17:02 PM
  • icon

    I feel for the smaller HIP providers who will suffer because of this, and serious measures need to be put in place to provide an alternative income for providers who are now facing unemployment. Personally I am very pleased to see HIPs go as it opens up the market to possible vendors who wish to test the market.

    • 17 May 2010 16:45 PM
  • icon

    Frankly, whether HIPs go or remain will not affect business, unless you are unfortunate enough to work in the HIPs industry. What does affect business is not knowing and indecision.

    We have experienced a number of potential vendors questioning the need for a HIP. My staff are clear that the Law is the Law, however some other agents appear not to worry. We are not talking one man bands, we are talking well known and well respected brands who appear confident that an announcement will be made within a few days and who are prepared to take a gamble. We are holding our own and have overcome most objections, however this confusion is not good for the consumer nor the industry.

    Nevertheless, I suspect within a few days we will know the plans and timetable and as always, the industry will adapt accordingly.

    • 17 May 2010 16:23 PM
  • icon

    "Once HIPS are abolished, everyone will want to sell and we still wont have any buyers" - I take it that is tongue in cheek!! Utter nonsense if not.

    All that will happen is that those procrastinating for an outcome will have that obstacle removed. I know of applicants who still cant find what they want and will be delighted when more properties become available. Even if it is announced HIPs stay - it will just take away the uncertainty and normal service will resume. We have taken on 15 instruction THIS WEEK, so really, its not that big an issue. Just please Mr Shapps, put us out of our misery!!

    • 17 May 2010 15:56 PM
  • icon

    Once HIPS are abolished, everyone will want to sell and we still wont have any buyers. Prices will nose-dive and confidence will be further eroded. Great.

    • 17 May 2010 15:22 PM
  • icon

    To the tune of "You've lost that lovin' feeling"

    You never roll your eyes anymore when they ask for HIPS.
    And there's no need to wait for Grant to deliver this.
    You're trying hard not to buy it, (baby).
    But baby, baby you know it...

    You've lost that panic feeling,
    Whoa, that wasted feeling,
    You've lost that panic feeling,
    ’Cause it's gone...gone...gone...yeahhhhhhhh!

    Now there's a welcome look in your eyes
    when we sell for you.
    And now you're starting to understand the things we do.
    It makes us just feel like praying, (baby).
    That at AHIPP there’s someone that’s saying

    We’ve got that panic feeling,
    Whoa, that panic feeling,
    We've got that panic feeling,
    ’Cause they’re gone...gone...gone..boooohoohoo!

    Baby, baby, I throw away my HIPs for you.

    And now you only hate them like we used to do, yeah.

    We had a love...a love...a love you didn’t want anyway.

    But AHIPP says...don't...don't...don't let it slip away.

    Baby (baby), baby (baby),
    We beg of you please...please,
    We need your dosh (they need your dosh),
    We need your dosh (they need your dosh),
    So bring it on back (So bring it on back),
    Bring it on back (so bring it on back).

    Push back that Hippy feeling,
    Whoa, that Hippy feeling
    Push back that Hippy feeling,
    Now it's gone...gone...gone,
    and it can't go on,
    ………..yeahhhhhhhhhhh...

    • 17 May 2010 15:16 PM
  • icon

    DRC - What are chatting breeze!...."The jobless total would be minimum, due to majority of the work being automated" - No automated system can serve a great purpose for a HIP company for fact of the general stupidity of the average home seller! It takes longer to explain what a HIP is then to actually complete one.

    • 17 May 2010 14:37 PM
  • icon

    The jobless total would be minimum, due to majority of the work being automated. The physical part of the job was data imput and DEAs ( who will keep their jobs) and earn more in my view. Agents will probably employ DEAs now and offer their services free as part of a full package. The main HIP providers were on thier way out well before today, becuase they all choose to have a barn fight over charges.

    • 17 May 2010 13:49 PM
  • icon

    When the HIP is gone what will you all have to bitch about then eh????

    • 17 May 2010 13:47 PM
  • icon

    SharanAtWork:
    So we all had a problem with a few more houses before HIP's? I don't think so. It is the market that decides these things, HIP's distorted it.

    • 17 May 2010 13:41 PM
  • icon

    This will have a huge knock on effect to each and every one if they are abolished. There will be more houses on the market, leading to loss of confidence when potential buyers come onto the market thus de valuing ALL OF OUR HOUSES! Such a good idea to get rid of them now? Oh unless of course you still live with mummy!

    • 17 May 2010 13:28 PM
  • icon

    May I suggest that you express your views directly to someone who can do something about it grant@shapps.com - I got a very nice reply.

    • 17 May 2010 12:46 PM
  • icon

    DEA DAN.
    Suspension does not require consultation? Abolishing - that can come in due course.

    • 17 May 2010 12:07 PM
  • icon

    DEA DAN - wishful thinking - it will take 100 days perhaps to amend legislation, but no time at all to implement s162 and suspend in the interim. Only time will tell - Good luck though

    • 17 May 2010 12:02 PM
  • icon

    If they do decide to abolish HIPs then it is subject to a consultation period - which will take 100 days meaning that any properties coming to market in that time will require a HIP to comply with the law - are any agents really prepared to offer refunds to 3 months worth of instructions??

    • 17 May 2010 12:00 PM
  • icon

    Interesting view from Teresa Hunter from the business section of the Scotsman on the saving made should HIPs be scrapped "In fact, it won't save them [the English] quite as much as you might imagine, as the lawless English were largely flouting the obligation to commission a HIP anyway and illegally putting their homes on the market without one."

    Always good to see it from the outside in!!

    • 17 May 2010 11:49 AM
  • icon

    Pleeeeeease!
    Just wait just a few days to see if this news is correct and until "the announcement of a suspension due this week" then we will know if suspension is immediate or not. In the meantime why not advise your new vendors of the slight delay - they will appreciate your consideration to possibly save them the cost? (I know many of you will not agree!)
    P.S. In my opinion EPC's should be the responsibility of the instructed agent.

    • 17 May 2010 11:37 AM
  • icon

    Mr Blond : I agree - they have been treated appallingly - but Industry warned the Government that this would happen and the Government would not listen. They aren't in power now, so the culprits are gone leaving others to deliver the bad news. Its a disgrace and Cooper, Kelly et al should be brought to book as they could reasonably foresee this would happen

    • 17 May 2010 11:36 AM
  • icon

    I think redman is right, vendors are picking up on the uncertainty, the only way through this crap and list - legally - is to offer a re-fund. The quicker HIPs are canned the better for everyone.

    • 17 May 2010 11:25 AM
  • icon

    @Ric

    What don't you get? Home Inspectors trained to deliver the HCR which was removed as a mandatory element of the HIP. With the scrapping of HIPs the qualification becomes useless and they deserve their money back.

    Also, most DEAs will lose their jobs because without solicitors/EAs passing work to their regular DEAs, each EPC commission will become a free-for-all with fees being pushed so low that it simply would not be worth continuing.

    Whatever your opinion of HIPs, there is no denying that HIs and DEAs have been treated like $hit throughout this whole sorry affair.

    • 17 May 2010 11:21 AM
  • icon

    A polite observation: If the HIPs industry is mounting a real fight, its off that none of their websites or blogs are remotely upto date. HIPs reform group - no news or comment since end of April. AHIPP nothing for 2 weeks. The rest are the same - its as iff they have given up on the PR battle

    • 17 May 2010 11:16 AM
  • icon

    ComeOn, tell your vendors that if HIPS are abolished after they have paid for them you will refund. Good fair listing policy, your customers will appreciate your sense of fair play. The sooner these god forsaken HIPs go the better.

    • 17 May 2010 11:16 AM
  • icon

    Come on............I totally agree.

    • 17 May 2010 11:01 AM
  • icon

    Come On - this is the problem that Eric Walker highlighted last week. We all know the law. BUT some agents tell a vendor not to bother, other respect the Law - same commission quoted - no risk to the Vendor as its the agent who gets the fine..... it doesn't make for a level playing field.

    • 17 May 2010 11:00 AM
  • icon

    Seriously, with this news, do we tell our vendors just to wait for a hip and put on market now?>? I know the law but I am not happy taking £300 quid off someone and then 2 weeks later not needing it.
    Help!!!

    • 17 May 2010 10:49 AM
  • icon

    Jules - most agents did not align themselves to HIPs - it was an evil forced upon us by a Government who didn't listen to industry. We had to comply, and you cant do so without finding a HIP provider who provided the best service to mitigate the delays. Some agents profiteered, yes and I have no sympathy with them losing this undeclared income stream.

    • 17 May 2010 10:40 AM
  • icon

    The concept of a HIP was filthy. Agents did themselves no favors by aligning themselves with HIP providers. Making a quick & dirty buck from ones customers is always a bad idea.

    • 17 May 2010 10:29 AM
  • icon

    It's no good those in the HIP industry that stuck their heads in the sand bleating now. Yes I feel sorry for you but the writing was on the wall a very long time ago. Just like any business you should have been planning ahead and not waiting till after the fact.
    White van man DEA promises of earning high incomes was a labour con from the start. That part of the market has settled with HIP supliers screwing them into the ground with poor fee's. God riddance to AHIPP and maybe now they won't have so much control and DEA's can earn a fair living. However there are far too many DEA to be supported by the market?

    • 17 May 2010 10:29 AM
  • icon

    they just wouldn't listen..........

    • 17 May 2010 10:29 AM
  • icon

    Would be useful to know the source of this information to ensure its accuracy. We don't want to pass on info that may not be 100% correct.

    • 17 May 2010 10:28 AM
  • icon

    ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET.
    If an agent had set up a HIP business, he would be now just making a few redundancies and getting back to agency, and employ a few new DEAs.

    • 17 May 2010 10:28 AM
  • icon

    This business has been floored and living on borrowed time from day one. I believe the EPC business will continue and will be a standalone business. The HIP providers were squeezing the DEAs for cost price, so now they will be able to have an exclusive market.

    • 17 May 2010 10:20 AM
  • icon

    I will just fill in the numbers on the epc graph myself..no one understands them anyway,,haha

    • 17 May 2010 10:18 AM
  • icon

    About time too, lets be honest only had two people look at them since they started waste of money and waste of time!!!

    • 17 May 2010 10:16 AM
  • icon

    HIP HIP Hurray, it will be gone in a few days, what's the point of prolonging its death anyway

    • 17 May 2010 10:14 AM
  • icon

    Frankly, whatever happens we will deal with it - just put everyone out of their misery!! Maybe, anyone in HIPs industry could become negs as its hard to find staff at the moment - just a thought

    • 17 May 2010 10:13 AM
  • icon

    Surely the vendor will turn to agents or conveyancers for their EPCs and there will be enough companies forming to provide a high quality EPC service.

    • 17 May 2010 10:12 AM
  • icon

    The problem with floorplans and photos is that they are an add-on to the inspection process. Whilst agents are happy to tag the cost on the end of the much larger HIP costs, they don't add much value as a standalone product. By the time you've paid your photographer and graphic designer, there is no way enough left to run a business. It's the job centre I'm afraid.

    • 17 May 2010 10:04 AM
  • icon

    Wht is it every paper says that DEA assessors will lose their jobs - EPC's will stay. They also refer to Home Inspectors, yet there is no inspection other than the EPC. I just don't get it. Likewise, this was never a surprise as everyone knew it was the policy of the incoming Government who most people thought would win the election. As will all business, you plan for every eventuality and diversify. One of my friends who runs a small HIP company started to focus on EPCs, Inventories, Floor Plans and Photography and conveyancing - and now dont have single point of failure

    • 17 May 2010 09:32 AM
  • icon

    And where, pray tell, does HIP Reform Group or indeed AHIPP think they will find the funds to mount a legal challenge to a suspension order? Dream on gentlemen, Yours days are numbered.

    • 17 May 2010 08:54 AM
valpal
submit