Guest blog: Goodbye HIPs - Hello EPCs
This is a guest blog by NHER Accreditation Scheme member Linn Rafferty. If you would like to contribute a post for the Insights blog, please get in touch in the usual way.
Goodbye HIPs, Hello EPCs. What does a home seller need to know?
Until last week, home sellers had to have a Home Information Pack in place before their home could be put on the market. HIPs have now been suspended, pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition. Before the election, the Conservative Party promised a consultation on their complete removal, but this isn't mentioned in the official announcement.
There are two different journalists' viewpoints on this news available here:
- The Guardian - 'Home information packs scrapped'
- The Telegraph - 'HIPs to be scrapped'
- The official Government line can be read here
The HIP was generally available at low charge, or free, via the seller's estate agent. Agents providing them free of charge normally required the seller to pay back the cost of the HIP if they took their property off the market, or instructed another agent, so some sellers chose to pay for their own HIP to avoid being 'tied in' to one agent. Without the HIP in place, the cost of assembling this information will now fall on the buyer, not the seller – a return to the situation that existed prior to the introduction of the HIP.
What you need to know
From today, if you intend to sell your house you no longer need to have a HIP in place, but you do need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). To comply with the new law, you need to have instructed a Domestic Energy Assessor to prepare one, and either to have paid for it, or given a clear undertaking to pay, before marketing.
If you are selling through an agent, he or she must be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned before starting to market your home. Both parties must make reasonable efforts to secure an EPC within 28 days, and all of the new duties carry fixed penalties where somebody fails to comply.
Estate agents may replace their earlier offers of free or reduced price HIPs with similar offers relating to EPCs. Before choosing to take up the offer from the agent, though, sellers should consider whether they may get a better service, and possibly a cheaper price, by buying direct from a local DEA.
Another approach, if you think you may be selling your property at any time in the future, is to have an EPC prepared in advance. An EPC is valid for 10 years at present, so there's no reason not to. One advantage is that you may find out that you can very cheaply improve the energy efficiency of your home as part of your preparation for selling. This would not only improve your home's EPC rating, but also provide an immediate reduction in your fuel bills. If you do make changes to your home that were suggested in the EPC, most DEAs will update it and issue a new one for a small additional fee.
Find an EPC provider
You can easily find a local DEA by any of the following methods:
- Searching online using any search engine
- Using the Government search engine
- using NES' 'Find an Assessor' function
The views expressed in this blog article are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of National Energy Services. When submitting a comment, please be aware of the guidelines provided in our website terms and conditions.