Government announces HIPS guidelines

Angela Faherty

June 17, 2006

The measures outlined are designed to give reliable information on the condition and energy efficiency of homes up-front, and to prevent consumers paying several times for the same information.

Customers will also be provided with a simplified redress for consumer complaints against estate agents and other market providers by having a single point of access for all complaints about the buying and selling process.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) will be included in HIPS and will provide buyers and sellers with A to G ratings for their home’s energy efficiency and carbon emissions.

Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper,

said: “For too many people, buying or selling their home is still a real nightmare, with long delays and duplication. People should be entitled to proper information at the beginning of the process. We know there are still vested interests who make money out of the current system and who are opposed to reform, but this is about getting a better deal for the consumer.”

Alongside the regulations, the Housing Minister also published the certification scheme standards establishing the requirements to be met by home inspectors carrying out Home Condition Reports. This includes proper indemnity insurance for inspectors.

Alan Dring, sales director at eConveyancer, said: “It is progress, but the information is all still a bit vague. Consumers need to understand exactly what the ERC means, and the fact that energy efficiency may not mean working appliances. More clarity is needed.”

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