RIP HIP - Obituary by Peter Rollings
Thu 20 May 2010
The Home Information Pack. Born 1 August 2007; died 20 May 2010 - aged 2 years 9 months
After a difficult birth Labour took 9 years the Home Information Pack came into being, delivered by housing minister Ruth Kelly, in August 2007. But this Frankensteins Policy of oddly bolted-together components, which aimed to speed up the home-buying process, was stunted by a denial of key elements, precipitating its ultimate demise.
The Home Information Pack was a glint in the Labour Partys eye in the 1997 election manifesto, where it was seen as a solution to the problem of gazumping.
But it remained uncertain that the Home Information Pack would ever be born and it was not until November 2004, after almost two parliaments of trying, that the Housing Bill came into effect and the HIP was conceived. Even at this stage, with Labour expecting, the HIP was not due for a further three years.
Fierce opposition from campaigners, such as Kirstie Allsop, cast further doubt on whether the HIP would come into existence in 2006. The most serious blow to the HIPs prospects came in 2006, when Labour bowed under pressure and dropped the requirement to have an essential home condition report.
Ante natal trials of the HIP began in late 2006, but failed to silence critics. Warnings about the opposition to the HIP were sounded from the House of Lords and RICS, who claimed it would be damaging to the housing market.
A last-gasp motion by the Conservatives to scrap the HIP was defeated in the Commons in May 2007, and following a summer of Labour pains, the HIP was cobbled together and forced out in August 2007.
From its early days, the HIP proved unpopular with buyers and sellers, who resented the maintenance payment to support the Pack, particularly during the economic downturn. The lack of key elements, such as a structural survey, severely stunted the HIP and its demise was confirmed with the formation of the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition in May 2010.
The HIP is survived by the Energy Performance Certificate.