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Government reveals HIPs timeline

Amanda Jarvis

March 16, 2006

Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper said,

“Currently, one million pounds a day is wasted on buying and selling homes. Buyers often spend hundreds of pounds on valuations, legal advice and searches on sales that ultimately break down. By providing key information at the beginning of the process, Home Information Packs will prevent waste and significantly cut the number of sales that fall through. That is why consumers groups have been calling for them for years.”

The published timeline, which has been developed in partnership with industry, provides a clear path to implementation on 1 June 2007. It will help to ensure that industry and the Government remain on track to deliver a product that makes a real difference to buying and selling a home. Pack providers, Home Inspector training providers and others involved in delivering the packs to consumers are key to the success of this programme, as are the Consumer organisations who have been calling for these reforms for years.

Key points in the timeline include:

* March 2006 – Government gave the go ahead for multiple certification schemes, meaning lower set up costs for industry and robust standards set by Government to ensure quality Home Inspectors and a trusted, objective Home Condition Report for consumers. A number of organisations who are interested in becoming certification schemes have already come forward and the Government is considering their proposals and over 3,000 people are already going through training for the Home Inspector qualification;
* April 2006 – Government launch a HIP publicity campaign to industry and details of a three-phased product launch and dry run will be published;
* June 2006 – draft regulations are made setting out the detailed contents of Home Information Packs, rules governing the availability of packs, exceptions from the pack duties and arrangements for enforcement;
* June 2006 – June 2007 a three phase approach to product testing – that builds up to Government and industry testing across all aspects of the process, involving estate agents, solicitors, pack providers, lenders and others who play a part in delivering Home Information Packs to consumers, from ensuring that Certifications Schemes are up and running, so that Home Inspectors can register Home Condition Reports, to offering voluntary packs to consumers in advance of mandatory implementation. The Summer of 2006 will also sees the launch of a series of geographical industry led trials;
* September 2006 – Government approve the first Certification Schemes to oversee the work of Home Inspectors. The schemes will be set up and run by industry. Government will set the standards that the schemes will operate. In September the Home Condition Report Register contract will be agreed. A fully operational register will follow as soon as possible afterwards;
* November 2006 – June 2007 – the product testing continues with phase two and three leading the programme into implementation on 1 June 2007. By now, lenders will be able to use information from the Home Condition Report for valuation purposes, resulting in less on site valuation and costs savings for consumers;
* April 2007 – public awareness publicity campaign is launched;
* March 2007 Review of the outcomes of the final phase of the product launch make final adjustments ready for going live 1 June 2007 The detail of the timeline will be further developed in partnership with industry and be continuously updated.


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