Home Information Packs otherwise known as HIPs were introduced as part of a Government scheme in 2007 to streamline the conveyancing process, reduce the number of abortive sales and try to reduce gazumping and gazundering. 

The idea being that the documents provided by the sellers’ Solicitors and the searches requested by the purchasers’ Solicitors would be provided by the seller upfront usually by a HIP provider through an estate agent. 

They consisted of among other documents:
Sale Statement
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Title Documents
Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ)
Local Authority, Environmental and Drainage Searches
Home Condition Report (HCR)

They became mandatory during the autumn of that year despite receiving strong opposition from the construction industry, estate agents, chartered surveyors and solicitors.  Their introduction created a whole new industry of HIP providers but were seen as unsuccessful and disregarded by many solicitors due to the presale packs being inferior to the traditional protocol forms and searches required by solicitors.  

This unnecessary duplication caused delays in properties being placed on the market with estate agents and may have contributed to the 2007 – 09 housing crisis by deterring vendors from marketing their houses due to the extra costs involved in the process.

David Cameron suspended the requirement for HIPs in May 2010 as part of the incoming government changes and legislation requiring the packs was formally repealed in 2012 with the only exception being the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Now many years later it appears that HIPs may be returning to a much lesser extent with The Law Society currently beta testing a new Property Information Form (TA6) Part 1 with the intention of improving the home buying experience for purchasers by providing information upfront and enabling them to make informed decisions prior to making an offer.  

The new form which is used in addition to the current TA6 form may also be used to pre-populate the current TA6 form and be part of an industry wide move to start collecting upfront property information again. 

Hopefully this new mini HIP being tested by the Law Society will fare better than its predecessor or perhaps enough time has elapsed for people to forget the mistakes of the past.