It may be fair to say that Home Information Packs (HIPs) have not exactly been the most popular move of our Labour government in recent years. In fact, many estate agents, who have been questioned about these, have stipulated that HIPs are of no real benefit to buyers at the moment. Furthermore, they are an additional expense that people looking to sell their home can ill afford as the country enters an increasingly deepening recession.
As of 6 April 2009, complex new rules came into force regarding HIPs, and these mainly tended to emphasise the fact that these packs were to be prepared at a much earlier stage than before. Previously, a property could be placed onto the market if a HIP had been merely ordered. However, from 6 April, the vast majority of relevant documentation was to be completed before sellers could be entitled to place a ’for sale’ board in their front garden. Failure to comply with these new rules may well lead to a £200 fine, and it is thought that these penalties may well be quite widely enforced.