By: Neil Fawcett
To say that the government is behaving like the Grand Old Duke of York, over Home Inspection Reports is grossly unfair. Every child knows that the Grand Old Duke of York was a renowned military tactician who marched his men briskly to the top of the hill and, in an equally decisive manoeuvre, immediately marched them down again.

By comparison government policy appears muddled and bewildered. They made it law, that every home put on the market after D-day (1st June 2007) would require a Home Inspection Report - which could only be prepared by an accredited Home Inspector. With the incentive of this captive market they began recruiting a legion of aspiring Home Inspectors each of whom has had to fork out thousands of pounds for training and accreditation. Then on 18th July 2006 with the troops still barely half way up the hill, The Minister for Housing and Planning (Yvette Cooper) issued "further details of the GovernmentÂ’s implementation strategy". So far as the unfortunate Home Inspectors are concerned "non-implementation strategy" would be more accurate. On the other hand the Government may decide to make the inspection reports compulsory after all at some later date. So the march to the top of the hill is suspended, those who wish can slope off down again. The rest can wait, neither up nor down, to see what happens.

You must still have a Home Information Pack (HIP) if you put your home on the market after 1st June 2007 and you must have it available for supply free of charge (except for reasonable copying charges for a paper copy) to prospective purchasers. The law only allows you to include certain things in the pack - to stop it being used for product marketing dressed up as information.

Proof of ownership of the property (usually copies of entries on the Land Register)

If the property is leasehold, additional information, including the terms of the lease

An up to date result of a local authority search and enquiries

An up to date drainage and water search

An energy efficiency certificate for the property

You are allowed to put certain other things in the pack if you wish. For example you can include a coal mining search or other relevant searches and you can include other information about the property on standard forms.

You will not now be required to put in a Home Condition Report but you can get one done and put it in if you wish. How many sellers will think paying for a survey report will help them sell their property effectively, remains to be seen. Industry insiders predict not many at all - especially as buyers and lenders who want a survey are still likely to want their own done rather than relying on one commissioned by the seller.

Fawcett & Pattni Solicitors at http://fp-law.com Links