If you are putting your home on the market for sale you must have a Home Information Pack available for prospective buyers.
If you are a buyer considering making an offer you should be able to get a copy the HIP to help you make your decision. The format and content of most HIPs are not very user friendly and selling agents rarely seem to offer to provide the HIP to prospective buyers. You can insist on seeing it. After all the whole point of HIPs was to give the buyer all the information right at the start so that deals did not fall through because of a problem only coming to light at a late stage.
If you get the HIP and it turns out that the title is leasehold and you were putting in an offer based on freehold title, you will want to reconsider.
What's in the HIP?
The law says that certain things must be in the pack. There are some other items which the seller is allowed to put in voluntarily. The pack must not include anything other than the compulsory and the allowed items. Unsurprisingly few HIPs have anything other than the compulsory items. The seller has to pay for the pack to be put together and usually wants to keep the cost to the minimum.
The Pack Index shows what items have been included
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be inlcuded. In fact in the rare cases when you can sell your home without an HIP (for example you did a deal with a neighbour without putting the property on the market) you still have to have to supply an EPC.
A sale statement describing the property and the title (freehold or leasehold being sold)
Title information which will usually be a copy of the entries about the property on the Land Register and copy of the Land Registry plan.
A questionnaire about the property completed by the seller
Local search and enquiries. This gives a range information about how the property may be affected by things the local authority have done or are planning to do.
Water and Drainage Search gives information from the Water and Drainage Authority about the property. Key issues include whether the property is connected to mains water and drainage, and if not whether such connections are available; whether the water supply is metered and whether there is any public water main or sewer within the boundary of the property. The existence of a public water main or sewer within the boundary can restrict how the property is developed in future
For leasehold property the pack must also include lease hold information and a copy of the lease itself
Other relevant searches can be included voluntarily but rarely are. This usually means that an essential piece of information is missing for anyone buying property in coalfeild areas like the Midlands. This is the mining search which will show whether the property is affected by past present or planned future coal mining operations.