17TH MAY 2010


"So we may be here at last, a property world free of the nonsensical Home Information Pack; a cause for which I have lobbied and toiled these ten or so years. Rejoice rejoice!" says Trevor Kent, former president of the National Association of Estate Agents.  
Insiders say, with some certainty it seems, that a Suspension Order has already been signed and that it will be placed before Parliament early in the first session of our new regime. Certainly a number of birds would be brought to earth by this stone. The government will be seen right from the start to be prepared to honour Manifesto pledges and have no truck with special interest groups' beatings - a course of action that will bode well for the future of the  strong and forthright leadership the country will need for financial-mire extrication over the next few years - and sellers and their agents will know where they stand too, much relieved. Not to mention the wider economy, so reliant upon a healthy and confident property market free from obstacles to growth.  
However, until HIPs are suspended, agents and private sellers will continue to fear civil conviction and penalties should they start marketing a home without a Home Information Pack - not just writing a cheque for three or four hundred pounds upfront but also having to wait days for the preliminary part of the HIP to actually arrive before (legally) an ad can placed, a word printed or an internet primed. 
An intolerable situation for some time now, but all the more unacceptable when the licensed HIP producers (a closed shop with no competition) are naturally rather more busy abandoning ship or building life rafts rather than making themselves available for the last few Packs. However, until the moment of suspension, the Law of the Land is being broken  -" put yourself in the agents' position for a moment, the ultimate penalty for marketing without a HIP is to be banned from practice, yet their duty to their clients is to market their homes but there is no one around to prepare the HIPs - is that not the biggest Catch 22 one is ever likely to face?", enquires Trevor Kent.
Grant Shapps, now our Housing Minister,  has been forthright with me and other anti-HIPs lobbyists over the last two years promising  "HIPs will go", and I know he is well aware of the difficulty  that uncertainty and delay will cause to everyone involved in the market. Both professional service providers and private individuals  selling demand immediate marketing (many  wrongly assuming from the media that HIPs have already gone) and advisers  have to say "the law won't let us offer your home for sale without a Pack". In a matter of days Trevor Kent believes, without immediate suspension,  agents and private sellers  will move from  being sporadic law-breakers  to wholesale house-seller insurrection! Not good, not healthy and frankly, not fair.
Trevor Kent is a former President of
The National Association of Estate Agents,
a long time property commentator, and
still a practicing estate agent in Gerrards Cross 
01753 885522
ISDN Radio by appointment     

Kent House
Oxford Road
Gerrards Cross
01753 885522
ISDN Radio by arrangement

Trevor Kent