Government plans for home information packs came under attack from a previously neutral source last night after the director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders called them a "costly indulgence".
In a speech to the Property Forum annual dinner Michael Coogan called on the government to think again about whether the infrastructure surrounding Hips could still be justified.
And speaking to IFAonline before giving the speech yesterday Coogan said the government now needs to urgently reconsider whether Hips can be delivered next summer or not.
Coogan says: “The government is either going to implement [Hips] when consumers are not ready or it will have to put the date back. If it’s not going to happen we need to know sooner rather than later.”
While he claims the CML has never been anti-Hip, Coogan says the government’s intention to stick with its original plans for the certification system and databank for inspectors producing energy performance certificates now looks “disproportionate and anachronistic”, given the government has dropped plans for a compulsory home condition report.
"This infrastructure seems a costly indulgence...it is also a clear-cut example of gold-plating. We have therefore written to the Better Regulation Commission to draw its attention to this example of poor implementation of European legislative requirements," Coogan told the Property Forum last night.
"Comparing our experience with other countries around the world, I am even more convinced that market forces should be the primary mechanism for delivering improvements to the house buying and selling process. The current HIPs framework, seemingly justified by the EPC requirements, is simply not proportionate and could not pass a robust regulatory impact assessment.
The CML is also concerned about the "dry run" designed to test the effectiveness of Hips stating it does not believe this will be a robust test of the new arrangements.
The dry run is, says the CML, already well behind the original schedule, and is being operated by the Association of Home Information Pack Providers and it says government funding has been made available to artificially incentivise take-up, particularly of home condition reports, compared with the true cost that will subsequently apply to any universal roll-out.
Added to this the government has published no clear criteria for monitoring or evaluation of the dry run all of which are cause for concern.
Coogan says anecdotal evidence collected by the CML shows voluntary home condition reports will not be taken up by consumers. As a result, Coogan says, Hips have become an “expensive process” and he asks what benefits they deliver.
Of equal concern is the fact there are still only 500 qualified home inspectors in the entire country with no indication, according to Coogan, from the government that there is a strong pipeline of qualified home inspectors coming through training schemes and only one scheme – that run by Sava – so far accredited by the government in recent weeks.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Matthew West on 020 7484 9893 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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