HIPs changes are 'expensive, pointless and damaging' say estate agents

06 April 2009 / by Rachael Stiles
The new rules regarding HIPs (Home Information Packs), which come into force with the new tax year, will stop people from putting their property up for sale, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has said.

From today, the controversial Home Information Packs have to be made available to prospective buyers before the property can be put on the market, whereas previously a seller had only to order it before advertising the property as being for sale.

A survey of property professionals conducted by the NAEA has found that 89 per cent do not believe the new rules will be beneficial to buyers, and 65 per cent believe they will further deter potential sellers from putting their property on the market.

Official figures from the Government reinforced the NAEA's research, showing that 77 per cent of house buyers said that HIPs have absolutely no bearing on their decision to buy a property or not.

The NAEA has deemed the new requirements to be "expensive, pointless and damaging," coming into force at a time when the property market needs stimulating, not stifling, and has called for them to be scrapped during the recession and re-evaluated later.

"It is extremely worrying that the Government is pushing ahead with an ill-judged and unpopular scheme that, in the opinion of UK property professionals, will actually slow the market down," said Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA.

"It reflects a stubbornness on the part of the Government and a reluctance to admit that HIPs in the main are pointless and expensive - and according to their own figures, ignored by the very people they claim benefit from them."

Gillian Charlesworth, director of external affairs at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said of the new changes: "RICS maintains that trying to engineer the home buying and selling process through the HIP is of limited use. RICS wants to see the Government quickly joining up to achieve much more for home buyers and sellers in the form of a proper regulatory regime for estate agents.

"Currently anyone can set up as an estate agent and when the market turns up, no doubt it will once again be an attractive place for the unscrupulous. We believe that much more will be achieved by regulating the practitioners, rather than trying to control the process."

Last month, the Government rejected a petition, instigated by former NAEA chief executive Trevor Kent and signed by thousands of people, which called on it to scrap the new rules forcing sellers to have a HIP in place before advertising the property of face a £200 fine.

Mr Kent also called on the Government to reconsider the timing of bringing in the new rules, at the same time as launching the complicated new Property Information Questionnaire, which will also be added to Home Information Packs from today.

Read our FREE online guides about Home Information Packs:

Home Information Packs - A Guide for Buyers

Home Information Packs - A Guide for Sellers

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