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Home information packs / Hips


What Are Home Information Packs (Hips)?

Home Information Packs (Hips) are designed to speed up the home buying process by making sure the seller has information about their property ready before starting to market the property for sale. This means that under Part 5 of the Housing Act 2004 a legal responsibility will fall on the person selling the property (the vendor) or their marketing agent to ensure all relevant documents are ready to present to prospective buyers on request. Full details are set out in Home Information Pack Regulations 2006 amended Home Information Pack Regulations 2007 and The Home Information Pack Regulations 2006 Procedural Guidance. Amended H

What will the Home Information Packs (Hips) contain?

The Pack will include the following documents, most of which are currently provided later in the sale:

  • An index of contents
  • A completed Property Information Questionnaire
  • A sale statement (summarising terms of sale)
  • Where appropriate, a New Homes Warranty
  • Evidence of title (for registered properties)
  • An Energy Performance Certificate

The following documents are also compulsory, but can be added to the Pack later if there are delays in obtaining them:

  • Evidence of title (for unregistered properties)
  • Searches (i.e. local authority enquiries and a drainage and water search)
  • Where appropriate, commonhold information (including a copy of the commonhold community statement)
  • Where appropriate, a copy of the lease.

Also, for leasehold and commonhold properties:

  • A copy of the lease is the only additional required document in a HIP for the sale of a leasehold property.

Where any items are missing, the index should explain why. Where searches, leasehold or commonhold documents are missing, the seller needs to provide evidence that an agreement has been made to provide the documents as soon as practicable and within 28 days, except in exceptional circumstances. If this takes longer than 28 days, marketers will be expected to demonstrate that they have made all reasonable efforts and enquiries to obtain them.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

From 1st August 2007, each home will have to be inspected and an Energy Performance Certificate prepared, before a property is marketed for sale.

The Energy Performance Certificate is similar to the certificates now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.

Its purpose is to record how energy-efficient a property is as a building. The certificate will provide a rating of the property from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient.

Two ratings are shown. The environmental impact rating is a measure of a home's impact on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide (C02) emissions - the higher the rating, the less impact it has on the environment. The energy-efficiency rating is a measure of a home's overall efficiency. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the home is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be. The average property in the UK is in bands D-E for both ratings

Each rating is based on the performance of the building itself and its services (such as heating and lighting), rather than the domestic appliances within it. This is known as an asset rating. The certificate also lists the potential rating of the building if all the cost-effective measures were installed.

The ratings will vary according to the age, location, size and condition of the building. The potential rating on the certificate will take these factors into account, and the suggested measures will be tailored so that they are realistic for the particular building.
The Energy Performance Certificate lists cost-effective measures that homeowners can take to improve the energy efficiency of the building. This can mean lower energy bills for the occupiers, and could make homes more attractive to potential purchasers. The certificate will provide contact details for the Energy Savings Trust, who can help you find out whether you could be eligible for grants or discounts to help carry out these improvements to your home. It will also list simple ways that changes in behaviour can save you energy and money - without the need for any works.

What happens to Energy Performance Certificates once they're done?

All domestic Energy Performance Certificates are lodged in a central database. Energy Assessors (through their Accreditation Schemes) lodge them as they produce them, and each is given a unique reference number. Access to the database is restricted, so only those who have the unique reference number can access the certificate for a particular property.

Not all buildings are used in the same way, so energy ratings use "standard occupancy" assumptions, which might be different from the specific way you use your building. What different methods of calculation are used for homes and for other buildings?

All the methodologies used to produce Energy Performance Certificates consider factors such as the size, age, location of a building, and how it's heated, lit and insulated.

What is a Home Condition Report?

The home condition report is based on a 'level 2' inspection which gives a similar volume of detail to that provided in the RICS Homebuyer Survey and Valuation, known as the HSV. This is somewhere between a mortgage valuation type report known to the industry as a 'level 1' inspection and the more detailed Building Survey or ‘full structural survey’ known as a 'level 3'. Home Inspectors must work according to inspection and reporting requirements, which will be specified by the Government approved certification scheme and under the National Occupational Standards.

The report will be in a standard format with built-in flexibility to accommodate all sizes and types
of properties from the small studio flat, to the 'listed' country home.

 It is designed to be easily understood by the lay reader – that means it will need to be clear,
consistent and accurate.

The report is made up of a number of sections.

Section A

Contains the terms of engagement, which will match those that will have been sent to the client with the mandatory confirmation of Instructions' letter.
This section also describes the condition ratings that are used in the main body of the report and
which are designed to help readers find their way to any urgent and serious defects within the property, thus avoiding the need to trawl through the document searching for
the most important information.

An appendix to the Terms of Engagement describes the extent of the inspection, telling the reader
what the Home Inspector is going to inspect and describing those parts of the property that are
outside of the inspection requirements.

Section B

Looks similar to some lenders' mortgage valuation forms and provides general information about the property, its age, size, accommodation, re-instatement cost for insurance purposes and general construction, including whether it is a ‘system built’ property. It also provides an overall opinion. Further, it lists all the condition ratings from the main body of the report.

Section C

identifies matters that may require further consideration by the conveyancer, any
environmental issues apparent from the inspection that need further investigation and health and safety matters that potential buyers should be aware of.

The Home Inspector is the 'eyes and ears' of the conveyancer and should highlight any matters
observed during the inspection that need further legal investigation. These might include the adoption of highways, rights of way, easements, provision of planning consents, 'listed' building and/or conservation area consents and building regulation approvals.

The Home Inspector may be aware of environmental issues relating to the property, such as flood risk, and this section enables him to ensure that the conveyancer asks the appropriate questions on this.

The report next goes into detail on the condition of the exterior (Section D) and the interior (Section E) of the property and the services that are connected to it (Section F). Each element of these parts of the property is dealt with individually. For the exterior this includes, chimney stacks, roof coverings, rainwater pipes and gutters, main walls, sub floor ventilation, windows, exterior doors, all other woodwork, claddings and external decoration.

The interior covers roof space, ceilings, internal walls and partitions, floors, fireplaces and
chimneys, built in fitments, internal woodwork, bathroom fittings, dampness, internal decorations
and cellars.

The services deal with electricity, gas, water, heating, and drainage. When completing these parts of the report it is necessary to describe the construction in simple terms to help the reader identify what is being discussed, along with justification for the rating given and comments on the condition, identifying, in particular, the serious and urgent defects seen. Each element, with the
exception of internal decoration, will be given a rating.

Section G

Of the report deals with outbuildings, grounds, boundary walls and fences. The Home
Inspector will look at all of these, with the exception of leisure facilities such as swimming pools,
tennis courts and non-permanent outbuilding such as timber garden sheds. He or she will comment on their general condition but is not required to ascribe a rating to them.

Section H

Will provide a report on the energy performance of the property. This will be in line with the requirements of the 2002 European Union Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings. In order to do this the Home Inspector will collect the appropriate data required and either submit it to one of the Government approved energy rating software organisations or use the licensed software from one of these organisations to deliver the energy efficiency rating for the property.
The software will generate recommendations on how energy efficiency can be improved, but the
Home Inspector will have the opportunity to remove any inappropriate recommendation before the report is signed off.

The final part of the report is the sign off by the Inspector


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