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Home Information Packs

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to answer question 138411, tabled on 16 May 2007, on home information pack inspectors. [143194]

Yvette Cooper: I have now replied to the hon. Member’s question.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the submission from the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services regarding the viability for local authorities of the enforcement of home information packs and pursue non-payment of fines; and if she will make a statement. [140869]

Ruth Kelly: We fully expect local authority trading standards officers to carry out their new statutory duties when home information packs are introduced on 1 August 2007. The Department has worked closely with the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) throughout the development of this policy and is now working with them to ensure a smooth implementation. Trading standards have the expertise and experience to operate a common-sense approach to enforcement assessing each case individually, and taking into account whether the HIP is being deliberately avoided when deciding appropriate measures to take—ranging from advice and warnings to a £200 penalty
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charge. Any estate agents issued with a penalty charge will be reported to the OFT, which has the ability to issue a banning order preventing an offender from trading as an estate agent.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many individuals have opted to purchase a home condition report in Phase 2 of the home information pack trial. [129210]

Ruth Kelly: In total we have received requests for more than 4,000 home information packs (HIPs) across all the trials.

We are still analysing and compiling the data from Phase 2 of the trials. We will publish the findings later in the year.

We are still receiving completed HIPs from pack providers and solicitors. MORI continues to conduct independent research with organisations involved in the trial and with buyers and sellers using the HIPs in their transactions.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect on the housing market of the introduction of compulsory home information packs. [136475]

Ruth Kelly: Research conducted for the Department by Europe Economics suggested that had home information packs (HIPs) been implemented on 1 June for all properties there might have been a transitory impact on the volume of properties marketed for sale as consumers adjusted to the new duties. Any such impact was likely to have been small compared with the normal fluctuations in listings. The analysis further predicted that listings behaviour would quickly return to trend levels as the new systems settles into place. Under the revised arrangements, with phased introduction of HIPs, any transitional impacts are likely to be even less significant.

The report further suggests that any transitional adjustments are unlikely to affect house prices or transactions, and that home information packs are unlikely to be a determinant of future changes in house price trends.

In the medium term, as home information packs improve transparency and increase competition, making home buying and selling a quicker, more certain and less daunting experience, the operation of the market should improve.

The Europe Economics research is currently being updated to reflect the phased implementation announced on 22 May 2007. The revised report will be published in due course.

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will ensure that provisions are introduced to provide redress for consumers who are mis-sold properties on the basis of inaccurate information in home information packs; and if she will make a statement. [136613]

Yvette Cooper: Consumers will be able to seek independent redress for home information pack (HIP)- related complaints against estate agents who are acting
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in relation to the sale of residential properties for which a HIP is required. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who is the Minister with policy responsibility for estate agents, will shortly be making an order requiring such estate agents in England and Wales to belong to an approved redress scheme for HIP-related complaints from 1 August 2007.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which Government Departments and agencies will have access to the central register of (a) home condition reports and (b) energy performance certificates. [137571]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1400W, regarding access to home condition reports.

Access to energy performance certificates entered in the register is controlled under the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007. It is an offence for the keeper of the register to disclose EPCs to any other person unless expressly permitted by the Regulations. These Regulations make provision for the disclosure to the Energy Performance Certificate Register by means other than the report reference number to enforcement authorities including the Office of Fair Trading for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime, and prosecuting offenders through the courts.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government also has access for monitoring and enforcement of the Regulations or auditing the work of certification schemes, and that of the register operator, provided that no particular property is identifiable from the information disclosed. No other Departments have access.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what definition of a bedroom the Government intend to use for the purpose of determining whether a home information pack will be required for the sale of a property after 1 August. [139884]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 4 June 2007]: We set out details in the home information packs regulations and commencement order which were published on 11 June 2007.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) if she will request additional resources from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to pay transitional compensation to individuals who re-trained at their own expense as energy performance inspectors in the expectation that opportunities to work as energy performance inspectors would be available from 1 June, until the home information packs scheme begins; [140569]

(2) if she will make available resources from the contingency fund to compensate those people who re-trained as energy performance inspectors in the expectation that their work would start on 1 June this year. [140568]

Yvette Cooper: The reasons for the delay to the implementation of home information packs were set out in the statement on 22 May 2007.


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The proposals we set out on 22 May will mean domestic energy assessors (DEAs) will be able to begin work shortly. We laid revised regulations on 11 June and from 1 August DEAs will also start work with four-bedroom and larger properties, rolling out to all properties as soon as possible.

We have invited councils and registered social landlords to work with us to introduce energy performance certificates (EPCs) on a voluntary basis in social housing. We are also providing 5,000 subsidised EPCs with every HIP commissioned before 1 August. These two projects will support the transition in the housing market, allow for further trialling and help to deliver early carbon savings as well as ensuring that there is as much work as possible for energy assessors at an early stage.

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of four- bedroom properties on the housing market in 2007 which are expected to be unable to exchange on completion of transaction due to inability to provide a previously commissioned home improvement pack; and if she will make a statement. [140690]

Yvette Cooper: We published our assessment of the introduction of Home Information Packs on 11 June. A number of the largest home information pack providers have committed themselves to ensuring that home-owners anywhere in England and Wales should be able to obtain a pack within seven working days at the advertised national rate.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how a four- bedroom house will be defined for the purposes of the revised home information pack regulations; and whether householders will be able to re-designate a bedroom for a different use from 1 August to avoid the need for a pack. [140851]

Yvette Cooper: We set out details in the home information packs regulations and commencement order which were published on 11 June 2007.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) start and (b) end date is for consultation on the new home information pack regulations. [140858]

Yvette Cooper: The new home information pack regulations have been discussed with key stakeholders and scrutiny bodies including the Better Regulation Executive and the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee. This follows consultation in January of this year. A consultation in accordance with the Department’s agreement with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on the age of an energy performance certificate when included in a home information pack will commence this summer.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the full conclusions of each geographic dry run for home information packs. [140861]


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Yvette Cooper: Full conclusions from the area trials will not be available until the end of the year. The implementation update published on 11 June includes information on the assessments that will be done. A copy of the update has been placed in the House Library.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will provide the most recent figures available for numbers of (a) trained and (b) fully accredited (i) home inspectors and (ii) domestic energy inspectors. [140866]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) on 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 817W.

Regular updates to the figures on trained and accredited assessors will be available on the Department’s website.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the percentage change in the number of homes being placed on the market as a result of the introduction of home information packs with voluntary home condition reports. [140868]

Yvette Cooper: Estimates on listings are set out in the impact assessment published on 11 June 2007.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her statement of 16 May 2007, Official Report, column 644, on numbers of accredited home inspectors and accredited energy inspectors, how many of the 1,110 inspectors were fully accredited on that date. [140872]

Yvette Cooper: On 16 May 1,110 people were either accredited or having their accreditation processed to be Home Inspectors or Energy Assessors. Of those, 406 had completed accreditation or certification and 706 were having their accreditation processed.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people in (a) Middlesbrough and (b) the North East have completed training to become home inspectors. [143424]

Yvette Cooper: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) on 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 817W.

We will provide further regular updates on the Department’s website.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2007, Official Report, column 1527W, on home information packs, what the estimated average market price is of a home information pack for a four-bedroom home, including VAT; [143455]

(2) what estimate she has made of the average market cost of a home information pack, including VAT, for a four-bedroom house. [143497]


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Yvette Cooper: An estimate of the cost of producing a home information pack is set out in the Impact Assessment published on 11 June 2007.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the Home Information Pack Toolkit produced by her Department. [143460]

Yvette Cooper: We are reprinting the Home Information Pack Toolkit, which will be placed in the Library of the House as soon as it becomes available.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the agreement of 22 May between her Department and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in relation to home information packs. [143473]

Ruth Kelly: A copy of the agreement is available in the Library of both Houses.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who will be responsible for assessing whether a domestic dwelling has four or more bedrooms and will require a home information pack from 1 August. [143496]

Yvette Cooper: The Housing Act 2004 (Commencement No.8) (England and Wales) Order 2007 provides that homes that are marketed as having four bedrooms or more will require a home information pack (HIP). The Housing Act 2004 makes it clear that the responsibility to obtain a home information pack is on the person responsible for marketing the property.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role (a) Rightmove and (b) Countrywide played in providing advice, research or consultancy to her Department and its predecessors on home information packs. [143628]

Yvette Cooper: We have worked with a large number of stakeholders, including Rightmove and Countrywide, on the development of home information packs.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if her Department will hold a consultation on its plans to revise the home information pack regulations. [145163]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the Secretary of State's statement to the House on 22 May 2007.

House Prices and Wages Ratio

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her most recent estimate is of the ratio of house prices to wages in (a) Dorset and (b) Hampshire. [111320]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 25 January 2007]: The most recently published information on the ratio of lower quartile house prices to lower quartile
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incomes at local authority district and county level is published on the Communities and Local Government website in Table 576 at

The earnings data come from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings of the Office for National Statistics of individuals and the house price data come from the Land Registry. The lower quartile price (or earnings) is that figure below which are one quarter of the prices (or earnings) and above which are three quarters of the prices (or earnings).


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