The Government recently announced the suspension of Home Information Packs with immediate effect from 21 May 2010. The Government believes it needs to act quickly to suspend the HIP to remove unnecessary cost and bureaucracy from the housing market.

Homes marketed for sale in Portsmouth on or after 21 May 2010 will no longer require a Home Information Pack (HIP)

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will be retained. Sellers will still be required to commission but will not need to have received an EPC before marketing their property. This means that a seller or a person acting on their behalf i.e. a Portsmouth estate agent must have instructed an accredited Energy Assessor to carry out an energy performance assessment. An assessor is someone accredited (regulated) in the Portsmouth area to provide energy assessments on buildings. HIP providers may be able to provide this service as long as they are accredited under scheme as an energy assessor.

You should contact your HIP provider as soon as possible. The duty to have a HIP will be suspended on Friday 21 May and homes put on the market on or after that date will not need one, although you will still need to have commissioned but not necessarily received an Energy Performance Certificate before marketing of the property can start.

The duty to provide an EPC falls on the seller, all EPCs will be valid for 10 years.

An EPC has to be available or have been commissioned before a home can be marketed for sale. It should be provided to potential buyers at the earliest opportunity and before entering into a contract to sell the property.

The duty to provide an EPC falls on either the seller, in the case of a building being sold, or the landlord, in the case of a building being rented. In the case of new buildings the duty to provide an EPC falls on the builder.

There is a fixed penalty of 200. Enforcement of these requirements is the responsibility of Trading Standards Officers. There are also penalties for not complying with the duty to commission an EPC before putting the property on the market. Rescheck web 

First time buyers in Portsmouth will still receive an energy performance certificate from the seller but will now have to commission their own searches. These are not a high cost in the context of overall transaction costs.

Important to note is that the requirement to provide a HIP in Portsmouth is suspended but sellers are free to choose to provide information to buyers on a voluntary basis and HIP providers can offer such products.

The EPC legislation is contained in the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (as amended by the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010).

This information was accurate at time of writing however legislation is subject to change and it is recommended you confirm the above statements with your local Estate Agent.