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The Home Information Pack (H.I.P)

By: Sam Harrington-Lowe - Updated: 26 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Home Information Pack Hips Sellers Pack

Since December 2007 in England and Wales it has been a legal requirement for every property that is sold to have a Home Information Pack. It doesn’t matter what size it is, every property bought and sold must have one of these.

The pack will contain lots of facts about the property and is an invaluable source of information for the purchaser.

From the 1 June 2008 it will mean the Home Information Pack should be available when the house is placed on the market, however as an introductory period, any properties put on the market before 31 May 2008 have a slight stay of execution, in as much as there is some leeway on time to deliver the pack. The Energy Performance Certificate (see below) must be provided at the time of exchange, but the rest of the documentation can be supplied afterward – there is no time restriction.

The government supplies all the information the vendor needs to put the pack together but we can give you a basic overview.

What Does it Contain?

The Home Information Pack (HIP) contains useful information about the property for sale. For sellers it’s useful to give to buyers so that they know the full story about the property and this can avoid anything holding up the sale down the line. For buyers it’s a really valuable way of obtaining essential information about the property they’re interested in, free of charge!

Inside the pack are Compulsory Items and Optional Items. As you can imagine, these titles indicate exactly what each one represents – compulsory items are those that every single pack must have, and option items? Well, they’re optional.

Compulsory Items:

HIP Index

This is an Index outlining all the documents in the pack, compulsory or optional. In the case where it’s not possible to include a document, the Index will show this, give the reasons for it being missing and indicate what is being done to acquire it. The Index needs to be up to date and accurately cover exactly what is, or isn’t, inside the HIP.

Energy Performance Certificate

This Certificate will tell you how energy efficient the property is. It gives a scale of A to G, with A being the best. A good score should mean lower energy bills.

The Certificate will also show how green the property is, measuring CO2 emissions. It will give you an indication of the property’s impact on the environment and is scaled A to G too. Sadly, most properties in the UK fall in between categories D to E so the Certificate will also include ideas on ways to improve the property to make it more efficient.

The Sale Statement

This is all the basic information about the property such as address; whether it’s leasehold, freehold or commonhold; registered or not and whether there is vacant possession.

Standard Searches

This includes the local land charges register relating to the property. This can be carried out by the local authority or a personal search company and once it’s complete, there is an official search certificate.

It can also include other records that might be of interest to you, like planning decisions or other local enquiries like building proposals; and water or drainage searches.

Evidence of Title

This proves the vendor owns the property and therefore has the right to sell it to you! It also includes Land Registry details showing who owns the land, and a copy of the Title Plan if the property is registered.

If the land is unregistered, the vendor must prove he or she owns it and has the right to sell but producing documented proof, plus a certificate of an official search of the index map (obtained from the Land Registry).

Leasehold or Commonhold Properties

This will include a copy of the lease if appropriate or an official copy of the individual register and title plan for the common parts.

Optional Items

Home Condition Report

This is a voluntary document which covers the general state of repair of the property. It’s useful for sellers if they want to be clear about the condition, and not have any surprises down the line that could affect the sale. But it’s equally useful for buyers as it will give an indication of any work that will need doing. It’s also a sign of confidence on the part of the vendor – a Home Condition Report will show they have nothing to hide!

Legal Summary

There are lots of documents in the HIP that are sometimes hard to understand. The Legal Summary is something of a ‘jargon buster’.

Home Use/Contents Form

This is more general info about the property, and can be a handy reference for info about boundaries, services, planning permissions or other matters of interest to the buyer.

Other Information

The sale of a property is speeded up when as much information is available as possible, so a vendor who wants a quick sale has the opportunity to add anything else that helps. The Other Information part could include other non-compulsory searches such as those that will have an environmental impact on the property, or things like rights of way or contaminated land.

Leasehold or Commonhold Properties

Finally, this could include further information about leases or agencies managing commonhold land and so on.

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