Following the successful introduction on 1st August 2007, of the Home Information Packs (HIPs) for homes with four bedrooms and above, the Government has confirmed there will be enough energy assessors, nationally and regionally, to roll out to three bedroom homes next month.
The Government is committing itself to further implementing HIPs and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to three bedroom properties from 10 September 2007. HIPs and EPCs are being introduced on a phased basis to ensure a smooth transition in the housing market, and to begin the process of transforming the home buying and selling process in the interests of consumers and the environment at the earliest opportunity.
HIPs and EPCs will give house buyers energy ratings for homes for the first time, from A to G – similar to consumer friendly ratings for fridges, helping to lower fuel bills and reduce carbon emissions. The packs will also help to cut costs for consumers by increasing transparency and competition in the home buying and selling process.
A further announcement on rolling out HIPs and EPCs to other properties will be made in due course. Our key criteria will be ensuring a smooth implementation and that the necessary energy assessors, both nationally and regionally, are in place. Measures recommended in the EPC could save the average consumer £300 a year off their fuel bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Typical ‘green grants' of £100 to £300 for energy saving improvements like loft insulation are available for many home owners.
A new system to make it easier for home owners to access these grants from energy suppliers was launched earlier this month. Energy suppliers are providing immediate access and information about green grants and offers to home buyers when they sign up to an energy contract. A new portal on the Energy Saving Trust's website also allows consumers to tap in their postcode to find out offers available. A snapshot of leading HIP providers shows packs are taking five days on average to produce. Many major estate agent chains are offering HIPs as part of their ordinary fees. Others are charging in the region of £300 to £350 plus VAT on an upfront or deferred basis – £200 to £250 of which is already paid for in the current system.
Communities Minister Baroness Andrews said:
“We are now ready to start rolling out HIPs and EPCs to the next part of the market as promised, and improve a home buying and selling process which currently is not working for consumers or the environment.”
“HIPs and EPCs can help families to save hundreds of pounds off their fuel bills, and cut a million tonnes of carbon a year. They also have the potential to reduce the millions of pounds wasted by consumers when buying and selling a home, by increasing transparency and competition in a process that hasn't changed for a generation.”