No one can accuse the Tories of not being consistent in their message of abolishing Home Information Packs. Over last year lobbyists trying to protect Home Information Packs have desperately looking for a ray of hope that the much maligned Home Information Pack will not be abolished.
Grant Shapps, Shadow Housing Minister, has said over and over again that Home Information Packs will be abolished as soon as the Conservatives come into power. What ever the Association of Home Information Pack Providers have to say the indisputable fact remains that Home Information Packs are unpopular.
The public belief is that Home Information Packs have not speeded up the process and sellers do not see any value in them. Ultimately it is a clear vote winner for the Conservative Party. In a nation of home owners, the abolition of the Home Information Pack is pretty much deemed to be the equivalent of a tax cut. Most political analysts over the last 25 years have accepted that people vote from their pockets.
So what are the Home Information Pack lobbyists to do ?
Somewhat bizarrely the Home Information Pack industry seems to believe that the “ exchange ready Home Information Pack “ is the answer. One uses the phrase “bizarrely” due to the fact that “exchange-ready Home Information Packs” actually undermines their credibility.
The fact remains that an “exchange-ready HIP” is rare as rocking horse faeces. A number of HIP providers already see themselves as providing an “exchange-ready HIP” but I think any expert with significant conveyancing experience will tell you that a Home Information Pack can be prepared in such a way that at the point that a buyer is found, the buyer’s property solicitors and lenders would accept that pack and effect an immediate exchange (or indeed an exchange within a two-week timeframe). The only exception would be if it was produced by a conveyancing practice that is able to act for both seller and buyer and were prepared to invest in approving the Home Information Pack and preparing a report on title in readiness for a buyer.
Commercial logic makes the above exception an impossible scenario regardless of the fact that the public will be concerned about potential conflict of interest.
What the advocates for “exchange-ready HIPs” fail to realise is that there are 138 lenders in the UK, all with different legal requirements. For example, while one lender may accept a flying freehold property, another lender may have an absolute prohibition on lending on such properties. Another example might be on a leasehold Home Information Pack, some lenders will lend on a property with 59 years remaining and others will not.
In addition to this, and contrary to public perception, most lawyers take differing views on legal issues in the deeds and contractual paperwork. Some conveyancing practices take indemnity insurances to deal with defects and others do not.
“Exchange-ready Home Information Packs” are purely a marketing gimmick. The danger is that the regulators and lobbyist on behalf of the Home Information Pack industry believe in the myth then they are doing themselves no favours as if they want to convince the Conservatives to keep Home Information Packs then they need to come up with a less superficial and compelling proposal.