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Minister hits out at Lords’ bid to change home sellers’ packs

A House of Lords’ vote to make home information packs voluntary rather than mandatory is unlikely to have much effect, says Housing Minister Keith Hill.

The Lords voted last week for an amendment to the Housing Bill to make packs voluntary – a move that would effectively kill the new sales regime. But housing minister Keith Hill says he will be reintroducing mandatory Hips to the Housing Bill despite this Parliamentary setback.

The Government last week issued a statement, saying it is still on course to introduce the controversial Hip procedure from January 2007 despite the defeat in the House of Lords.

Hill is adamant that voluntary packs would not work, as the industry would not be keen to invest in a process that is not certain to be universally used.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors also believes information packs must be compulsory, and says the system will not work if it is voluntary and two-tiered.

Hill says Hips will be compulsory and will be implemented throughout England and Wales following a six-month test. All estate agents marketing homes with Hips will have to belong to an approved redress scheme.

Hill says: “Voluntary packs will simply not work. The industry, especially the lenders, knows this and has made it clear it cannot invest in, or prepare staffing commitments and technology applications for a process where there is no certainty of universal use of home information packs.

“Worse still the Lords vote has scuppered the regulation of estate agents, for which there was widespread support, particularly from the estate agents themselves.”


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