From 21st May 2010 Home Information Packs are suspended pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition. This means that homes marketed for sale on or after this date will no longer require a Home Information Pack. However, Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are still a legal requirement.
What if I have commissioned a HIP prior to 21st May but not actually marketed the property?
Unless the client specifically requests that the HIP be done we will stop work on compiling the HIP. The client will be required to pay any disbursements that we have incurred and those searches will be the property of the client and may be sold on to the buyer in certain circumstances. Only the EPC needs to be offered to potential purchasers rather than the complete HIP. An EPC is now valid for a period of 10 years from the date it was prepared and EPCs that were carried out as part of a HIP can be used and relied upon when a property is sold within this time.
Where there is a HIP for a property for sale, there is no reason why the purchaser cannot rely on the documents contained in it. However, estate agents and sellers do not have an obligation to provide a copy of the HIP to potential purchasers if the property was first marketed after the date of suspension. The only document that needs to be produced from this date is the EPC.
What documents are a legal requirement following the suspension of HIPs?
The only document that is now a legal requirement is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which needs to have been commissioned but not necessarily received before marketing the property can start. Agents will also have to include energy information in written particulars, as was the case before the suspension of HIPs. This must be done as soon as the energy information becomes available and the seller and estate agent must use all reasonable efforts to ensure that the EPC is available within 28 days of the property going to market.
EPCs are required on all properties being sold with the duty being with the seller, the landlord in the case of rental properties, or the builder with new build properties.
As the first EPCs would have been carried out on properties coming on to the market in August 2007 it may well be that there are now properties coming on to the market with current EPC certificates. Accordingly estate agents should always check with any potential seller when the property was bought to avoid duplication of the expense.
Are there penalties for non-compliance?
Yes. The penalty for not ensuring that an EPC is available or has been commissioned and failing to include energy information in written particulars is £200. The enforcement of these requirements is the responsibility of Trading Standards Officers.
How Symes Robinson & Lee can help
Through our associations with local accredited Energy Assessors we are able to assist you in ensuring that the EPC is carried out quickly, accurately, and affordably. If you would like more information on our EPC service then please contact your local office;-