The introduction of Home Information Packs is to be
delayed until August – when they will be brought in for sales of
four-bedroom properties. The packs were due to become compulsory for all home sales from 1st June however Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly told the House of Commons today that the packs would now be phased in, starting with sales of large homes. She also said that initially sellers would only have to
have commissioned a pack, rather than have a completed one, before
marketing their property.
The delay comes after a judge, ruling on a legal
challenge from surveyors, said the energy performance certificates
should be left out of the packs “for the time being”.
The legal challenge from the Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors was based on what they said was a lack of proper
consultation on the packs. There have also been concerns that there are not enough people trained to carry out the environmental checks on properties. Ms Kelly confirmed that shortage when she told MPs there
were not going to be enough inspectors trained and accredited for the
planned 1st June start date. The shadow housing minister Michael Gove said: “The
government's plans for HIPs are unravelling. Ministers must now
acknowledge that they have botched this from beginning to end. Now is the time to work with us in the interests of the housing market and combating climate change.”
The House of Lords are also due to debate the packs on Tuesday. A
select committee has already urged the government to “seriously”
consider the criticism it described as “striking” and “widespread”. Jeremy Leaf from RICS said last week the packs would
make it “more expensive and more difficult” for people to put their
homes on the market, as well as being less “green” than they could be.