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News: Pro-Hip estate agent plans to boycott scheme

Following the government’s U-turn on home information packs announced last week by Yvette Cooper, estate agent Spicerhaart are calling for a boycott of the scheme they are now branding a shambles.

Without the mandatory inclusion of the Home Condition Report (HCR) which would have saved consumers time and money, reducing duplication and providing a more transparent view of the entire house buying and selling process, the introduction of Hips will be of no value to the consumer, said Spicerhaart.

The large independent network of estate agents had been a strong pro-Hip participator and has invested heavily in the home information pack scheme.

Packs without HCRs will simply result in extra costs and extra red tape yet will offer nothing new, agues the firm. The local searches and legal documentation to be contained in the pack are already produced and the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an EU directive that will become mandatory as of 2009, regardless of Hips.

The firm argues the role of the Home Inspector has effectively been scrapped, with energy companies able to train up employees to carry out the EPC within a week. "The government's u-turn is an abomination, leaving the thousands of Home Inspectors currently in training out of pocket and without a future," it said.

Paul Smith, chief executive of Spicerhaart said: "The government talks of a dry run but without the mandatory inclusion of HCRs I cannot see how this is going to be of any value they will be leaving out the essential ingredient of the Hip."

"The only hope the government now has of salvaging this mess is to announce a future date when HCRs must become mandatory without this, the packs may as well be scrapped as they will offer no added value to the consumer, providing nothing more than what is already mandatory in our current system."

"No-one will be policing the implementation of Hips and so we are calling on all estate agents to rise up against the government and refuse to co-operate in producing packs on 1 June next year."

"The whole initiative, which offered great promise and huge benefits to the consumer, is now a shambles that holds no benefit. As a result we will no-longer be supporting this failing government initiative and we are calling for the support of other estate agents to protect the consumer from this unnecessary and costly farce."

The National Association of Estate Agents Joint Vice President, Chris Wood commented:

"It’s sad that the Hips farce has led to such a division in the industry. Although it’s clear to see why some property experts may feel they have to make a stand, the NAEA would strongly recommend that estate agents do not break the law."

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