8th December 2008

Trevor Kent former President of the National Association of Estate Agents and one of the most vocal critics of Home Information Packs reacted with astonishment today to Housing Minister Margaret Beckett's long awaited statement on HIPs.

"When the whole of the home-sale industry has repeatedly castigated the government over both the nature and implementation of HIPs, I am deeply saddened that the new Minister's arrival at The Department of Communities and Local Government has not produced the hoped for root and branch reform of this idiotic legislation. Far be it from recognising the clamour from all directions calling for withdrawal of HIPs, she intends to make them more draconian still" says Trevor Kent.
Presently a home can be put on the market as soon as a HIP has been ordered (and paid for at an average cost of 300)   "Today, Margaret Becket has announced that from April qualifying HIP documents will actually have to be back in the sellers' hands before marketing can commence.   So when, as Grant Shapps her Conservative shadow so accurately put it today 'the housing market is on its knees', she seeks to effectively take properties off the market for  two  weeks."continues Kent, "and, not content with imposing a marketing delay she has told Trading Standards Officers to be pro-active in fining owners or their agents 200 if they are caught out advertising or putting a board up before the forms are delivered".
The Minister's statement has also announced that yet another form, the 'Property Information Questionnaire will be added to the HIP and must be compiled by sellers pre-marketing,  Leasehold owners will find it particularly difficult to complete without legal help. "The Minister says that under her new arrangements owners will be able to start marketing 'within three to five days' - well as a practicing estate agent myself, I have found that it takes eight to ten days to get the documents, and anyway why force sellers to delay even a minute's marketing, just to wait for parts of a HIP to come back that their buyers will not even bother to look at?"  
TREVOR KENT is former president of the National Association of Estate Agents
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