In May 2010, the coalition government suspended the Home Information Packs (HIPS's). The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is still required, and every home owner needs to produce one for their property to be sold. This needs to be supplied by an accredited Energy Assessor before the sale can be completed. The cost of an EPC can be anything up to £100 for an average sized family home.
On June 1st 2007 the Government lets loose its Home Information Pack. This pack is designed to help the home buying and selling process. These packs are mandatory and you could face a fine of £200 if you do not comply with the home information pack regulations. All fines and duties will be enforced by local authorities.
What is in a Home Information Pack?
An Energy Performance Certificate. This tells you how energy efficiant the house is on a scale of A -G and the impact it has on the environment. Better rated homes (A) should have the lowest fuel bills and will have less impact on the environment through lower carbon dioxide emissions. The average property in the UK will be in between bands D - E. The energy performance certificate also recommends ways to improve the homes energy efficiancy.
Sale Statement. This statement should contain some basic information about the site and house. This includes the address of the property being sold, whether the property is freehold, leasehold or commonhold, whether the property is registered or unregistered, whether the property is being sold with vacant possession.
- The local land charges register relating to the property. If the search is carried out by the local authority, an official search certificate will be provided.
- Other records held by the local authority on matters of interest to buyers, such as planning decisions and road building proposals. These are referred to as local enquiries in the Home Information Pack regulations. A local authority or a personal search company can be used.
- The provision of drainage and water services to the property. The local water company or a personal search company can be used.
Evidence of title
These documents prove that the seller owns the property and therefore has the right to sell it. Where the property being sold is registered, certain documents that are available on request from the Land Registry must be included in the Pack. These provide an up-to-date official record of who owns the land, and consist of:
- Official copies of the individual register (made up of a property register, roprietorship register and, typically, a charges register)
- An official copy of the title plan
In the case of the sale of a commonhold interest, official copies of the register and title plan should be produced for both the unit and common parts. The Land Registry has details of additional requirements for sales of commonhold properties.
For sales of unregistered land, the Pack must include copies of a certificate of an official search of the index map (obtained from the Land Registry), and those documents that the seller intends to rely on to provide evidence of title to the property, and thus the right to sell it.
Leasehold and Commonhold documents
Most of the documents that must be included in the Home Information Pack are applicable to all transactions, but some are needed only for leasehold and commonhold sales.
The required leasehold documents are:
- A copy of the lease
- Any regulations or rules that apply to the property that aren't mentioned in the lease and any proposed amendments to same
- Statements or summaries of service charges covering the previous 36 months
- Where appropriate, the most recent requests for payment of service charges, ground rent, insurance against damage for the building in which the property is situated, and insurance in respect of personal injury caused by or within the building during the 12-month period before marketing began
- The name and address of the current or proposed lessor, and details of any managing agent that has been appointed or proposed by the lessor to manage the property
- A summary of any works being undertaken or proposed that will affect the property or the building in which it's situated.
The required commonhold documents are:
An official copy of the individual register and title plan for the common parts. This is in addition to official copies for the unit.
An official copy of the commonhold community statement. You can download this document from Land Registry here.
Where they are reasonably obtainable, or sellers can reasonably be expected to be aware of them, the following documents and information are also required:
- Copies of any regulations or rules not described in the commonhold community statement and any amendments proposed to those regulations or to the commonhold community statement
- Copies of any requests for payments made in the previous 12 months in respect of commonhold assessment, reserve fund levy and insurance (if not covered by a request for commonhold assessment)
- The name and address of any managing agent or other person appointed or proposed to be appointed by the commonhold association to manage the commonhold
- A summary of current or proposed works affecting the commonhold.
Home Information pack index
The compulsory documents include a Home Information Pack Index listing the documents contained in the Pack.
The Index provides a checklist for sellers, buyers, estate agents and enforcement authorities. Where a document that must be included in the Pack is unavailable, the Index must say so, give the reason it is missing, and indicate what steps are being taken to obtain it. Where documents are added to or removed from the Pack at a later stage, the Index should be revised accordingly.
Do you need a Pack?
If your home is on the market before 1 June 2007, you won't need a Pack, unless the property remains unsold on 1 January 2008 - then you must get one.
You do not need a Home Information Pack for:
- Properties where there is no marketing (e.g. sale to member of your family)
- Non-residential properties
- Seasonal and holiday accommodation
- Mixed sales (e.g. shop with flat)
- Right to buy and similar sales
- Sales of portfolios of properties
- Properties not being sold with completely vacant possession
- Unsafe properties and properties to be demolished.