Lords report cites "extensive" Hips criticism

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The government must do more to respond to the "extensive criticism" that has greeted Home Information Packs (Hips) so far, peers have claimed.

A House of Lords select committee report today says it has "rarely seen such widespread opposition to proposals set out in secondary legislation" as that encountered during its investigation.

The vast majority of resistance to Hips, due to come into effect in one month's time, centres on the government's decision to make home condition reports (HCRs) voluntary.

And in today's report, merits of statutory instruments committee chairman Lord Filkin said the "comments which we have received from key stakeholder organisations in the housing market are striking in the strength of their criticisms".

"Such comment may not invalidate the purposes of the regulations, but we believe that the government need to take such criticism seriously and to do more if the market is to respond positively."

From June 1st onwards sellers are required to provide buyers with Hips containing title deeds, local searches and an energy performance certificate.

Speaking ahead of the House of Lords report, the director general of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers said that Hips would not be as effective due to HCRs no longer being obligatory.

"We were very upset that the HCR was made authorised rather than mandatory, so voluntary instead of compulsory, on 18th July last year. That was unnecessary," Mike Ockenden told the Today programme.

"We believe the home condition report is a very important part of the pack. The pack will do its job without it, but not nearly to the same extent as it would with it included."

But speaking to the same programme, Graham Lock of online estate agents House Network, said that Hips would still become the "perfect model" for house-selling.

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