Department for Communities and Local Government Secretary Ruth Kelly made the emergency announcement to Parliament this afternoon. Kelly told MPs that Hips will be delayed until August 1 when they will become compulsory for sales of four bedroom houses. She said Hips will be phased in, beginning with the sales of large homes.
Kelly said the decision was in response to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors ongoing judicial review of the EPCs in Hips. Last Wednesday, the Judge considering the application for judicial review by RICS issued an interim order to prevent EPCs from being included in Hips from June 1 until a court had fully considered the RICS application.
Kelly said: “We did not consider it to be acceptable or practical to delay the introduction of EPCs in this way. We have therefore been in negotiation with RICS in order to avoid a lengthy delay as a result of the legal process.”
The Government has announced that Hips and EPCs will start on August 1, implemented on a phased basis. From August 1 packs – including EPCs – will be required for the sale of four bedroom properties and larger.
It has also said that until the end of the year, it will allow people to market their properties as soon as they have commissioned a pack, rather than making them wait until they have received them.
In addition, as a temporary measure, the Government is allowing EPCs to be up to 12 months old when the property is put up for sale and will consult further on the long-term arrangements for the age of EPCs.
EConveyance sales director Alan Dring says: “What a farce! With just over a week to go, the government decides to put the brakes on Hips for two months. Never again should a piece of legislation be allowed to be introduced in such a shambolic way.”
He adds: “What are the energy inspectors who are accredited meant to do for the next three months? Will they be compensated for loss of income? I very much doubt it.”
The announcement came as the House of Lords was set to debate Hips this afternoon, with the Tories and LibDems expected to vote for the motion to scrap the scheme potentially leading to a Government defeat.