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Policy & Activities

07 December, 2004

Notice - Housing Act 2004 and Home Information Packs

The government’s Housing Bill received Royal Assent on 19 November and is now law.   The Housing Act introduces two important measures of interest to HBF members:  

· A requirement for the sellers of homes to provide a Home Information Pack (HIP) for purchasers

· Powers to allow private developers to bid for Social Housing Grant in competition with RSLs as a means of promoting the efficient provision of social housing

 

Home Information Pack

 

HIPs will be mandatory from 2007.

 

A consultation paper published in March 2003 set out proposals for HIPs to contain information about:

· Terms of sale; evidence of title; replies to standard searches; planning consents, agreements and directions, and building control certificates; replies to preliminary enquiries made on behalf of buyers; a home condition report based on a professional survey of the property, including an energy efficiency assessment.

· For new properties, copies of warranties and guarantees.

· For leasehold properties, a copy of the lease; most recent service charge accounts and receipts; building insurance policy details and payment receipts; regulations made by the landlord or management company; and memorandum and articles of the landlord or management company.

 

For the initial sale of newly-built homes, the same consultation document proposed that there will be no requirement for a home condition report – roughly equivalent to a purchaser’s survey – provided the home is covered by a suitable warranty.

 

In response to concern from many of the professions and opposition parties about the impact of HIPs on the property market, the government has agreed to run a pilot scheme for HIPs in the second half of 2006. The results of this will be assessed by a stakeholder group. As a concession to the opposition, the government has also added a power to the Housing Act that will enable it to dis-apply the introduction of HIPs from the beginning of 2007 if there are found to be genuine practical concerns.

 

The government has also agreed to set up a separate stakeholder group to consider whether the requirement for a home condition report could be dropped for the resale of homes covered by a suitable warranty. With HBF's active support, NHBC has lobbied hard on this issue and has held joint lobbying meetings . NHBC will be involved in the stakeholder group and the HBF will continue to liaise with them.

 

Social Housing Grant

 

The Act will enable the government to run a competition between private house builders and RSLs for Social Housing Grant.

 

The government had previously announced that if the legislation was passed it would allocate £200 million of the next tranche of Housing Corporation grant for such a competition. This is due to run through 2005 with allocations being announced around the end of the year. At present, however, details of how the competition will be operated have still to be received.