Should we bring home information packs back?
The conservatives have made no less than 2,500 amendments to the Housing & Planning Bill and one of those is to bring back the Home Information Packs which they abolished in 2010! The commencement of the order for the re introduction of the Home Information packs has been penciled in for 1 April 2017.
Home information packs contain a survey, valuation, EPC and a questionnaire completed by the seller, however, they will now also need to contain several other things.
A professionally produced health and safety assessment of the property, together with a rating of, for example, stairs, gardens and cookers. Homes must score a minimum of five out of ten or be banned from the market. The score would have to be “prominently” shown in all advertising, including listings on all the portals.
A ‘child safety’ assessment – three and four-bedroom homes on roads, close to rivers or within half a mile of any beach, for example, could not be advertised as family homes and could only be sold to adult-only households.
A ‘pet suitability’ assessment, similar to the child safety one. A property which failed its pet suitability assessment could not be sold to anyone with a cat, dog or even a hamster. Tortoises would be exempt.
A sustainability rating, based on the local wildlife population and whether residents can walk or cycle to work and shops. Homes with low sustainability ratings, such as properties in the countryside not on a bus route, would be banned from the market.
Checks on the immigration status of all potential buyers and those in their households.
The amendment proposes civil sanctions for householders who breach requirements, and automatic criminal sanctions for agents, including up to ten years in jail.
No sanctions will be applied to online agents, which will be exempt from having to produce HIPs as the Government is making it clear that it wishes to encourage competition.
Labour is set to fight against the return of the Home information Packs.