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Call to change EPCs and drop searches from HIPs

Energy Performance Certificates must be reviewed while local searches must be dropped from Home Information Packs (HIPs) – according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The call comes as the property market continues to suffer due to a collapse in demand prompted by difficult mortgage lending conditions.

Peter Bolton King, NAEA Chief Executive, said: “With the economic situation worsening and the property market still suffering, we are calling on the government to take urgent action on HIPs.

“We have long seen HIPs as not fit for purpose and as the wrong answer to simplifying the house buying process.

“Quite simply, the government tried to force ‘square pegs into round holes’ and the slower property market is making this situation worse.

“The time has come to rectify the situation and come up with a system that works cohesively and efficiently for both buyers and sellers. If HIPs are going to continue, then we, along with other major stakeholders would like to see them including only information that is of some use.

“Perhaps a simplified pack could include; a sellers’ questionnaire, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) also reviewed to be fit for purpose, and the Land Registry title and plan. This is the only information that is helpful for consumers and the industry as a whole.”

Mr Bolton King said property searches had to be dropped completely from HIPs.. He said: ““The current call for local searches to be conducted as part of a HIP is madness.

'Due to the length of time properties are on the market in the current climate, a majority of searches are now out of date by the time the property is sold, which means they have to be repeated at extra cost to the consumer.”