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RICS’ court challenge forces Kelly to delay Hips

The Government has made a dramatic U-turn by delaying the introduction of home information packs by two months just a week before they were set to be introduced.

In a last-minute move, Department for Communities and Local Government Secretary Ruth Kelly made an emergency announcement to Parliament on Tuesday afternoon telling MPs the introduction of Hips has been delayed until August 1. They will then become compulsory for sales of houses with four or more bedrooms initially and phased in later for smaller properties.

Kelly says the delay is in response to the judicial review which was initiated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors last week.

She revealed that in a court hearing last week, the judge issued an interim order preventing energy performance certificates from being included in Hips until a court had fully considered RICS’ application.

Kelly also admitted that there were currently only 520 fully accredited energy assessors, not enough to meet the Government’s needs for June 1 implementation.

She said the delay comes after negotiations with RICS.

But RICS housing spokesman Jeremy Leaf says RICS only agreed to the Government providing a 12-week consultation period on EPCs, publishing a regulatory impact assessment and it paying RICS’s legal costs.

Leaf says the judicial review has only been stayed and can be reactivated if the Government fails to deliver on its obligations.

Association of Home Information Pack Providers director general Mike Ockenden criticises RICS for the delay. He says: “It is difficult to understand how RICS can claim that it is acting in the public’s interest by denying them this much needed reform.”

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