Understanding the Importance Of Home Information Packs

In the UK it is now compulsory to be in possession of a fully completed Home Information Pack, provided by the seller, before the sale of your house can be completed if the property you are selling has three or more bedrooms: 2-bedroom properties are not included in the HIP legislation as yet.

As a result of the Housing Act 2004, if a property is to be sold on the open market with vacant possession, a Home Information Pack, otherwise known as a HIP or Seller’s Pack, must be provided during the conveyancing procedure.

On 1st August 2007 the provision of a Home Information Pack became mandatory when you sell homes where the property consisted of 4 or more bedrooms. This criterion was extended to houses with 3 bedrooms a little later. However, as a seller entering into a private sale agreement with professional home buyers you will not be required to provide a Home Information Pack.

A Home Information Pack applies to the law of England and Wales. The HIP consists of a set of documents that relates to the property being sold on the open market and, a particular bone of contention is that the HIP has to be provided and paid for by the person selling the property.

The average cost of provision of a Home Information Pack is around £150.00 [British pounds sterling], although this sum is easily recouped from the sale of the house. The good news, however, is that it is supposed to speed up the conveyancing process.

The HIP legislation, although here to stay, is largely unpopular with sellers, estate agents, surveyors and the legal profession generally.

Recently, some changes have been made to the original legislation. From 6th April 2009 the full and complete Home Information Pack must be available for perusal by home buyers interested in buying the property on the open market, from the first day a house is put up for sale on the open market.

As houses in the UK are usually marketed by an estate agent, a copy of the Home Information Pack in its entirety must be provided to whoever asks for a copy, free of charge. There have been other changes to the HIP legislation and, from the 6th April 2009, the inclusion of a Home Condition Report or HCR is now no longer a mandatory requirement.

Under the original HIP legislation HCR information was considered to be the most important document within the whole HIP pack as the purchaser could see at a glance the condition of the property, laid out before them in black and white, clarifying exactly what the purchaser was intending to buy before any conveyancing was entered into.

The HCR was a mandatory part of the Home Information Pack and considered to be the most important document of the whole pack as it prevented potential house buyers from entering into a sale that could, in the long run result in a costly mistake if unrevealed problems with the fabric of the building showed up and had to be rectified after the sale had been completed.

Since the 6th April 2009 a HCR document need not be included in the HIP at all, although it can be voluntarily included for an additional cost.

So, what is actually included in the Home Information Pack? The documents in the HIP pack are divided into those that are legislated as being mandatory and those that are voluntarily included.

A completely new inclusion, since 6th April 2009, is the mandatory Property Information Questionnaire or PIQ. As the seller is the person who has to complete the PIQ, the Property Mis-descriptions Act 1991 does not apply if the seller has put down any misleading or inaccurate information in the PIQ. Also as the seller has completed the PIQ, any future buyer cannot hold the estate agent liable under the Property Mis-descriptions Act 1991, for any misrepresentations that are later revealed.

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