pn131207merits

Embargo: Immediate Thursday 13 December 2007

Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659

HOME INFORMATION PACKS: VIEWS OF PRACTITIONERS STILL DIVIDED- LORDS COMMITTEE

The House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee has today published a range of comments from practitioners in the housing market, which show that views about HIPs are still divided.

The Government have introduced HIPs for sales of residential properties in three phases: four-bedroom properties from 1 August 2007; three-bedroom properties from 10 September; and all properties from 14 December.

Regulations laid in late-November provide that, until 1 June 2008, while the lease must be included in the HIP, other leasehold documents will not have to be included. The documents in question include property management rules, summaries of service charges, and requests for payments towards matters such as ground rent and building damage insurance.

In its comments on these Regulations, the Merits Committee recognises that that the Government have laid them in order to lessen the burden which the HIP requirements place on those marketing homes. But the Committee also recalls its concern about the original policy that, without the mandatory inclusion of Home Condition Reports, HIPs might imperfectly achieve the objective of providing home-buyers with better information.

The Committee has received comments from a number of interested parties: the Association of Home Information Pack Providers; the Council for Mortgage Lenders; the Council of Property Search Organisations; the Law Society; the National Association of Estate Agents; the Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors; and the WWF. Practitioners in the housing market are split in their response to the HIP initiative in general, and the effects of the latest Regulations in particular.

The Committee urges the Government to keep the implementation of HIP policy under review and to provide full information about the practical effects of its introduction.

In its report on the Home Information Pack (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/3301), the Merits Committee reviews the changes that the Government have made to the content and timing of their HIP policy over the last year, and draws on comments made to it by a number of interested organisations. The Committee has reported the Regulations on the ground that they " give rise to issues of public policy likely to be of interest to the House".

Notes to Editors

1. The Committee report is published by The Stationery Office as HL Paper 24. It is available online at: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/merits.cfm

2. The Committee previously reported on the Home Information Pack (No. 2) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/1667) in the 24th Report of 2006-07, on the ground of imperfect achievement of objectives: see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldmerit/129/129.pdf

3. The House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee was established in 2003 and began work in April 2004. Its task is to examine each statutory instrument presented to the House and to draw attention to any which deal with matters of significant public policy interest or show defects in certain areas. The Committee's Reports are intended to inform the scrutiny process of the House of Lords, without seeking to determine what view the House will finally take of individual instruments.

4. The current members of the Merits Committee are :

Lord Filkin (Chairman)

Baroness Butler-Sloss

Lord Crisp

Baroness Deech

Viscount Eccles

Lord James of Blackheath

Baroness Kingsmill

Lord Lucas

Baroness Maddock

Baroness Thomas of Winchester

Lord Tunnicliffe

For copies of the report please contact Owen Williams, Lords Press Officer, on 020 7219 8659.

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