Here we provide regular updates about interesting legal opinions and decisions in addition to news about developments within our firm.
HIPs are history: Pickles suspends Home Information Packs with immediate effect
|Published||19 May 2010|
In an important step at a point of fragile recovery in the housing market, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Housing Minister Grant Shapps today announced that with immediate effect, they are suspending the requirement for homeowners to provide a Home Information Pack (HIP) when selling their homes.
Mr Pickles today laid an Order suspending HIPs with immediate effect, pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition. The Secretary of State has taken this swift action in order to avoid uncertainty and prevent a slump in an already fragile housing market. Today's announcement sends a clear message of encouragement to people thinking of selling their home that they can put it on the market with less cost and hassle.
HIPs are currently holding back the housing market because sellers are having to fork-out extra cash, sometimes hundreds of pounds, just to be able to put their home up for sale. Suspending HIPs will reduce the cost of selling a home, remove a layer of regulation from the process and provide a welcome help to the housing market during the recovery. It will also mean a saving for consumers to the tune of £870m over ten years, giving sellers more money in their pocket to spend in the wider economy.
Mr Pickles and Mr Shapps also said that the Government is determined to help people reduce their energy bills, improve our energy security and tackle climate change by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes. Sellers will therefore still be required to commission, but won't need to have received, an EPC before marketing their property, and the Government will consider how the EPC can play its part in the new drive for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy.
Eric Pickles said:
"The expensive and unnecessary Home Information Pack has increased the cost and hassle of selling homes and is stifling a fragile housing market.
"That's why I am taking emergency action to suspend the HIP, bringing down the cost of selling a home and removing unnecessary regulation from the home buying process.
"This swift and decisive action will send a strong message to the fragile housing market and prevent uncertainty for both home sellers and buyers.
"HIPs are history. This action will encourage sellers back into the market, and help the market as a whole and the economy recover."
Today's move is part of delivering a key manifesto comment made by both parties in the new coalition Government. It will mean that sellers will no longer be told they have to buy a HIP before putting their home on the market, but they will now have the choice to provide one if they want to.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
"This is a great example of how this new Government is getting straight down to work by cutting away pointless red-tape that is strangling the market. Rather than shelling out hundreds of pounds for nothing in return we're stripping away bureaucracy and letting home owners sell their properties.
"But we're also showing our commitment to a greener housing market by keeping Energy Performance Certificates and making them more relevant in helping buyers make informed decisions on the energy costs of their new home."
Rules on Home Information Packs re-honed
From April 2009, the 'First Day Marketing' element has been withdrawn. It is now compulsory to have a Home Information Pack in place in order for the property to go onto the market. This cumbersome process means that efficiency, economy and speed are now more important than ever when it comes to selling your home.
Homebuyers benefit from increase of stamp duty threshold
Homebuyers are benefitting from the increase in residential stamp duty threshold, according to Halifax.
The mortgage provider claims that one in three homebuyers have benefited since the threshold was raised from £125,000 to £175,000 a year ago, which equates to 112,000 new mortgage holders having been exempt from the tax in the ten months to June 2009.
According to Halifax, the increase in threshold has mostly benefitted buyers in all regions outside of the south-east of England.
Only 22 per cent of sales were below £175,000 in London during the period compared to 84 per cent in the north of England.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said the temporary raise in the standard duty tax threshold "has removed a significant number of homebuyers from the tax net".
He added: "The impact has added to the far more significant effect of the reduction in house prices in helping to reduce the costs of buying a home over the past year.
"Lower prices have also brought some properties below £175,000, therefore making the purchasers of such properties exempt from stamp duty whereas they would not have been a year ago."
Gary Smith, president of the National Association of Estate Agents, recently claimed property prices would recover before 2011.
New online access
You can now use our website to find out everything about our services and areas of legal expertise. We look forward to your visit!