Kelly puts home information packs on ice

23 May 2007
Communities secretary Ruth Kelly has delayed the introduction of home information packs (Hips) after a legal challenge to the scheme was mounted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

The intended June 1st deadline has been pushed back to August 1st in the wake of the start of Rics judicial review proceedings last week.

Rics claimed the government had not conducted proper consultation prior to drawing up the scheme.

The Association of Home Information Pack Providers' director-general Mike Ockenden claimed the setback would mean consumers had to "endure the existing, broken house buying and selling process for at least a further two months".

But the Council of Mortgage Lenders' director-general Michael Coogan called on government to think hard before deciding whether to abandon Hips altogether.

The "hasty announcement" of the decision to delay implementation "marks the latest in a series of climbdowns and opportunistic amendments", he added.

The scheme now suffers from a "fundamental lack of confidence" among estate agents and buyers alike, he claimed.

Announcing the delayed deadline, Ms Kelly said that not enough people had yet qualified as energy assessors to compile the Energy Performance Certificates which will be a core part of the packs.

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