Latest Expert Witness News
Home Information Packs are adding to the housing crisis
Home Information Packs are adding to the housing crisis by imposing extra costs on buyers, the Conservatives have warned.
The dossiers, which all vendors must now compile before putting their home on the market, have been criticised by estate agents and the Opposition as adding an extra layer of bureaucracy to the process.
But Caroline Flint, the housing minister, recently insisted that "HIPs save buyers both time and money".
So far, around 700,000 HIPs have been produced, containing local area searches, legal documents and an energy certificate.
But the Conservatives are highlighting research by one of the main providers of HIPs, which shows that more than half of buyers' solicitors still require their own searches, as they do not trust those provided by the seller.
MDA, a Canadian firm which has cornered much of the UK HIP supply chain, said: "More than 50 per cent of the buyers' solicitors are continuing to replace the searches in the HIP, and adding extra searches as standard, such as environmental and chancel searches to maintain due diligence for their client."
Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister, said: "The Government has introduced HIPs which require anyone selling their home to shell out more than £400 including VAT to produce a document which no one buying a home ever asks for.
"Now it turns out that the buyer's solicitor will tend to carry out the same work and more all over again and this time bill the homebuyer.
"It is a crazy system, and the only people who cannot see that it does not work are the ones running the country.
"It is time for Brown and co to get off the backs of people who want to be able to buy and sell homes without all this additional cost and red tape.''
Sellers' packs were originally due to become compulsory in June 2007 but were heavily resisted by the industry, forcing the Government to delay their implementation.
They were finally introduced for properties with four bedrooms last August, three from September, and for all homes in December.