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Conservatives reiterate pledge to scrap HIPs in green paper

Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps has reconfirmed his pledge to scrap Home Information Packs.

As part of the Conservative Party's new housing green paper, Shapps also reveals that he plans to move Energy Performance Certificates to the end of the house buying process if the party is voted into power in the 2010 general election.

The green paper, entitled Strong Foundations was launched on Tuesday and follows the implementation of first day marketing and Property Information Questionnaires on April 6.

Shapps (pictured) states: "We do not believe that they [EPCs] should get in the way of being able to market a property and so EPCs should be required only by the end of the sale process, rather than being a legal requirement as the house is placed on the market.

"We will therefore scrap the discredited HIPs, liberating EPCs to genuinely help people improve the environmental standing of their property."

But Mike Ockenden, director general of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers, says: "Prospective buyers need to know about the energy efficiency and potential running costs of a property as early in the process as possible, as it may have an impact on their decision to buy."

On Shapps' plan to scrap HIPs, Colin Girling, director of Colin Girling & Co estate agents in Ipswich, says: "That would be a wonderful idea - the only trouble is that by the time they [Conservatives] get in power the system will have been running and you're just getting used to it. [However] I think we should scrap it because it's another tax - it's not speeding up a sale and it's not helping to sell."

Paul Bonett, director of Brighton-based Bonetts Estate Agent, disagrees: "They've [HIPs] not reached where they need to be, but they're on the way to maybe being a good product and it seems a bit pointless to scrap them now when in six or 12 months' time it could turn out they're very useful. I think that the more information that's in them, the more useful they'll be, and that's slowly going to happen."

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