A report into home information packs (HIPs) by Birmingham Trading Standards has reached pretty damning results.
The packs have not only been slammed as useless, misleading and uninformative, they have also been credited with worsening the housing market situation. Many believe that the added cost of the packs is putting off both buyers and sellers in a market already rocked by the credit crunch.
Many of the packs examined had fundamental errors which could lead to house sales falling through or purchasers only discovering too late down the line that they had been misled.
Omissions were made in areas such as planning permissions and planning history and whether houses were in conservation areas. Whether these errors were made by poor training of HIPs officers or by fundamental flaws in the system was not explained by the report, but neither makes comfortable reading for homeowners or potential buyers.
In a market already suffering due to the lack of home loan availability and with many worried about falling house prices, lack of confidence in HIPs creates a further burden for those buying and selling.
It is unfair to homeowners who are trying to sell that they are unwittingly attempting to sell their home on a false basis and equally wrong that those who are both investing equity and saddling themselves with a massive loan for are buying something that is not what they were led to believe.