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HIPs to be scrapped… good news or bad news?

HIPs have been controversial since their introduction, with many saying they were useless to buyers and sellers alike.

Estate agents in particular have welcomed the move, with Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, commenting: “This is great news for the housing market and for house buyers, few of whom have paid much attention to these pointless packs. It is also good news for sellers, who will no longer need to shell out hundreds of pounds for a piece of pointless regulation that benefits no one.”

However, I’m trying to get my foot on the property ladder at the moment and, as far as I’m concerned, HIPs are great.

I was on the brink of putting in an offer on what looked to be my ideal flat – until I asked to see the HIP.  Admittedly, they’re not the most user friendly of documents, but after wading through a few pages of fairly dry legal jargon, I found out that the flat had suffered from serious damp problems.   The current owner had had the damage repaired, but the work hadn’t been done by a qualified damp professional – meaning that it wasn’t guaranteed.  It also showed that the building as a whole was due to have some work done over the next year – if I hadn’t spotted it, the £8,000 bill for my share of the cost would have come as a pretty awful shock.  Needless to say, I didn’t put an offer in!

Bearing this in mind, I can see why someone looking to sell their property (who has something to hide) might not be so keen on HIPs, but I can’t help but feel that some buyers will suffer as a result of them being axed.