Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph published an article entitled ‘The problem with Home Information Packs’ The content of this would lead to the assumption that the Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, will replace HIPs with exchange ready Home Information Packs.
Unfortunately, the journalist does not reveal her source for these claims at any point within the article. The Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP), who are themselves the promoters of the idea of an exchange ready HIP, have made no comment that this has been agreed by Shapps. Their silence is an indication of their disbelief. After all, Mr Shapps is not a vocal fan of the AHIPP and I suspect they do not want to appear as instigators of the article.
The exchange ready HIP has now attained mythical status for two reasons. Firstly, the fact that it is going to be introduced and, secondly, that it will speed up the conveyancing process. In the above mentioned article, an agent has even gone so far as to suggest a rejuvenation of the housing market. This is certainly not realistic either within the UK or worldwide.
It has been suggested that, for leasehold properties, all leasehold and management information be included within the exchange ready HIP. People have very short memories, as indicated by the fact that the original HIP was to contain all leasehold information. At that time, there was concern from the HIP lobby that they did not have the legal knowledge to gather this information, as well as government concern that it would significantly increase HIP costs by at least £200 and may go out of date fairly quickly. Considering previous opposition to HIPs containing leasehold information, I do not foresee any party hurriedly attempting to introduce exchange ready leasehold HIPs.
I feel that the most frustrating aspect regarding exchange ready HIPs is that not only do they fail to manage the public's expectations of the speed of conveyancing having found a buyer, they actively mismanage it. Exchange ready HIPs not only insult the public’s intelligence, they are also likely to add further stress to an already notoriously stressful process.