A new report entitled the Carsberg Review of Residential Property suggests a drastic overhaul of the property buying and selling industry is needed. This includes Home Information Packs (HIPs), which have been the subject of controversy since their inception.
The review, designed to scrutinise private residential property in England and Wales, was commissioned by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
The review emphasises the need for consumers to be at the centre of any reform that takes place and states that the current regime of voluntary regulation and redress is insufficient. However, perhaps the most poignant issue addressed is that of HIPs, which the review claims has not improved the home buying process in the way planned.
Welcoming the report, chief executive of the NAEA, Peter Bolton King, said: "We have long opposed the imposition of Home Information Packs and have always seen them as the wrong answer to simplifying the house buying process. I am delighted that Sir Bryan [Carsberg] has endorsed our standpoint and recommended that HIPs become a voluntary requirement."
However, the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP) claims that, despite certain hitches associated with HIPS, they will continue to be part of the house buying and selling process for the foreseeable future. The association points out that the packs were introduced to protect consumers as well as estate agents, conveyancers and mortgage lenders
Director general at AHIPP, Mike Ockenden, said: "While I understand that many estate agents do not like HIPs, they are here to stay and it is important that agents understand their legal responsibilities in respect of packs. To protect themselves and of course the customers that they are serving they should only use packs that carry the HIP code logo."