From the Government. Details About the HIP and EPC that may help.
Suspension of Home Information Packs : Questions and Answers
Please note that the Home Information Pack duties are suspended with immediate effect from 21 May 2010. This means that homes marketed for sale on or after this date will no longer require a Home Information Pack. However, Energy Performance Certificates are still required.
I am just about to put my house on the market. Do I still need a HIP?
The duty to have a HIP has been suspended from 21 May. This means homes put on the market on or after that date will no longer need a HIP. However, you will need to have commissioned, but not necessarily received an Energy Performance Certificate before marketing can start.
What do you mean by "commissioned an EPC"?
This means that a seller or a person acting on their behalf i.e.an estate agent must have instructed an accredited Energy Assessor to carry out an energy performance assessment.
Who or what is an Energy Assessor?
This is someone who is accredited (regulated) to provide energy assessments on buildings. HIP providers may be able to provide this service as long as they are accredited under scheme as an energy assessor.
I have ordered a HIP but have not received it yet - what should I do?
You should contact your HIP provider as soon as possible. The duty to have a HIP will be suspended on Friday 21 May and homes put on the market on or after that date will not need one, although you will still need to have commissioned but not necessarily received an Energy Performance Certificate before marketing can start.
My home is already on the market with a HIP - do I have to do anything?
No. Sellers still need to provide an EPC to potential buyers under separate legislation but that should be included in your HIP.
Will I still need an EPC after the suspension of HIPs?
Yes. Sellers will need to have or to have commissioned but not necessarily received an Energy Performance Certificate before marketing can start.
Whose duty is it to provide the EPC?
The duty to provide an EPC falls on the seller
When does the EPC have to be provided?
An EPC has to be available or have been commissioned before a home can be marketed for sale. It should be provided to potential buyers at the earliest opportunity and before entering into a contract to sell the property.
What is the penalty for not providing an EPC - who will enforce it?
There is a fixed penalty of £200. Enforcement of these requirements is the responsibility of Trading Standards Officers. There are also penalties for not complying with the duty to commission an EPC before putting the property on the market.
How do I get a copy of the EPC done on my home - I never received a copy of my HIP?
If you have had a HIP prepared on your home, the person who prepared your HIP should be able to provide you with a copy of the EPC.
Can I reuse the EPC I received in the HIP when I come to sell my home if it (the EPC) is more than 3 years old?
Yes. Following the suspension of HIPs, all EPCs will be valid for 10 years.
Can I still rely on the HIP produced for the home I am buying?
Yes. There is no reason why a buyer cannot rely on the documents contained in the HIP.
I know there was a HIP produced for the house I am buying but the agent is now refusing to provide a copy - is that right?
Yes. There is no longer a duty on estate agents to provide a copy of the HIP to potential buyers.
Does this mean more expense for first time buyers?
First time buyers will still receive an energy performance certificate from the seller but will now have to commission their own searches. These will typically cost in the region of £150 which is a relatively small amount in the context of overall transaction costs.
The manifestos of the current Government (Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) promised to abolish HIPs and will do so as soon as primary legislation is available.
But the Government believes it needs to act quickly to suspend HIPs to remove unnecessary cost and bureaucracy from the housing market.
Important to note that only requirement to provide a HIP is suspended. Sellers are free to choose to provide information to buyers on a voluntary basis and HIP providers can offer such products.
Will an EPC still be needed after the suspension of HIPs?
Yes. Sellers will need to have commissioned but not necessarily received an Energy Performance Certificate before marketing can start. Estate agents cannot start marketing until they are satisfied that an EPC is available or has been commissioned.
Agents will also have to include energy information in written particulars, as was the case before the suspension of HIPs. They must do so as soon as the energy information becomes available.
Who will be responsible for providing the EPC?
The duty to provide an EPC falls on either the seller, in the case of a building being sold, or the landlord, in the case of a building being rented. In the case of new buildings the duty to provide an EPC falls on the builder.
When does the EPC have to be provided?
An EPC has to be made available at the earliest opportunity and, in any event, no later than exchange of contracts. As soon as the EPC is obtained the energy rating or the EPC must be included with any written particulars.
Where is the legislation on EPCs contained?
The legislation is contained in the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (as amended by the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010).
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
The penalty for not ensuring that an EPC is available or has been commissioned and failing to include energy information in written particulars is £200. The enforcement of these requirements is the responsibility of Trading Standards Officers.
How long will the EPC be valid for if it is not part of a HIP?
All EPCs for all buildings are valid for 10 years from the date that they are prepared.
What about the requirement to include energy information in written particulars?
The duty to include energy information in written particulars has been retained. It arises once an EPC has been obtained.
What if the EPC is not available when I prepare the written particulars?
Written particulars can still be prepared and made available but the energy information should be added to the written particulars as soon as it is available.
Is there a time limit on this?
The seller and estate agent must use all reasonable efforts to ensure that the EPC is available within 28 days of the property going on the market.
How long will the HIP suspension last - why don't you just abolish them outright?
Outright abolition will need primary legislation and we will do that as soon as practicable.
Why not just suspend HIPs and leave it at that?
The Government is committed to implementing its policy to abolish HIPs. The power to suspend is therefore an interim measure.
Will estate agents have any HIP duties once they are suspended?
No but there will be duties under the EPB Regulations for agents to ensure that an EPC has been commissioned before marketing starts and to include the rating in written particulars when available.
Am I still obliged to provide a copy of the HIP?
No but there is no reason not to do so if it improves the chances of a successful sale. The seller will still have to provide a copy of the EPC to potential buyers at the earliest opportunity and in any event before exchange of contracts.
I received a request for a copy of the HIP before the suspension date - am I still obliged to provide it?
No but see answer to previous question.
Can buyers still rely on a HIP after the suspension date?
Yes. If the HIP was compliant with the regulations there is no reason why a buyer should not be able to trust it.
Will estate agents still be liable for breaches that occurred before HIPs were suspended?
Yes. The suspension of the duties is not retrospective. However, it will be for enforcement authorities to decide whether to pursue the matter.
Can personal search companies go back to using insurance in their searches when they can't get information from local authorities?
The rules on the content of searches only applied to searches in the HIP and will not apply to searches provided in other circumstances.
Will the CLG be providing guidance on the effect of these changes?
Yes, the CLG website and others (DirectGov & Business Link) will be updated as soon as possible.