04 December, 2007
Conveyancing specialist Michelle Spensley at Forbes Solicitors advises that from 14 December 2007 ALL properties put on the market in England and Wales will require a Home Information Pack (HIP) and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Currently, only three bedroom and larger properties are required to do so, with 40 per cent of properties not currently requiring HIPs.
Michelle commented "It is claimed that the extension of HIPs to all properties will benefit first time buyers, who don't have to pay for a pack as they have no property to market, and that this will assist them in getting a foot on the housing ladder. It is also claimed that HIPs have led to a reduction in the costs of property searches, with 85 local authorities having reduced their search charges by an average of £30."
The EPC will rate homes on energy efficiency, using a grade from 'A' to 'G' - similar to the current system for rating the energy efficiency of electrical apparatus.
Buyers whose homes score poor energy ratings of F or G (currently around one-fifth of all homes) will receive an offer of a discount or free help with energy efficiency measures from the Green Homes Service, a facility recently launched by the Government to provide a one-stop-shop that people can contact for a home energy audit plus advice on other energy saving measures, thereby helping to save hundreds of pounds off fuel bills.
Because of the difficulties in obtaining copies of leases - a requirement for HIPs where the title to the property is leasehold - the requirement that the lease must be included for a 1 or 2 bedroom property is being delayed for a further six months.
The Government has also announced that in December it will be publishing guidance for local government authorities with a view to speeding up searches."