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Lords defeat could give Government perfect excuse to delay Hips, says Boulger

A House of Lords vote against Hips today would give the Government the perfect excuse to defer the 1 June start date, says Ray Boulger.

The John Charcol senior technical manager says the anticipated passing of the motion to revoke Hip legislation in the Lords would provide the Government with the opportunity to defer the start date and blame peers.

The Tories and LibDems are expected to vote for the motion which could spell defeat for the Government as it does not have the majority in the Lords that helped Hips survive a Commons motion last week.

Boulger says as the unresolved problems surrounding Hips become more apparent, including the fact the software used by two of the four providers of Energy Performance Certificates is still not working properly, such a defeat could be convenient for the Government.

He says there is no reason to rush as the EU Directive to bring in the EPC is not until 1 January 2009.

Boulger says: “Another possibility for the start date being derailed is the RICS call for a judicial review. The basis on which they have called for this seems to have merit and the initial stage is likely to be for a judge to decide if there is a case to answer, probably this week.

If the decision is in favour of RICS there will have to be a full hearing and both sides will need some time to prepare their case. It is inconceivable HIPs could be launched on 1 June with a judicial review in the offing.

“All the Department of Communities and Local Government need to do is to make all aspects of the HIP voluntary except the EPC, i.e. go one step further than they did last year when they made the HCR voluntary.

Those vendors who believe that the cost of including some or all of the voluntary information in the HIP will be worth incurring to help sell their property will be free to do so and those who don’t can just include the EPC.”

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