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Home Condition Reports/Information Packs

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Register of Home Condition Reports will be fully operational. (94805)

The key services required to enable the successful lodgement and retrieval of Home Condition Reports and Energy Performance Certificates will be available for the commencement of the area trials on 6 November, Plans are in place to develop this core service to provide full functionality by the first quarter of 2007 to allow for contingency before the start of live running on 1 June 2007. These development plans will take into account experiences gained and enhancements identified during the area trials.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her estimate is of the cost of a home information pack (a) excluding the Home Condition Report and (b) including VAT. (94852)

The price of the pack will be determined by the market, not Government. The Regulatory Impact Assessment published in June assumed that costs would be similar to costs currently charged for similar products, although we expect competition and innovation will lead to a reduction in these prices.

We are currently revising our estimate for the cost of home information packs, including producing the Energy Performance Certificate in the light of the statements made on 18 July and 21 September. A revised estimate of the costs will be included in the updated Regulatory Impact Assessment to be published alongside new regulations in early 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Government’s planned expenditure is for the home information packs public relations and marketing campaign. (90356)

The total communications budget for the HIP Programme in 2006-07 is £2.6 million excluding VAT. This is to ensure that the public and those working in the home buying and selling industry understand the changes that are being made and the benefits they will bring to consumers and the environment. It includes expenditure to support the area trials and includes information for estate agents, information about energy performance certificates and facts for home buyers and sellers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Gove) on 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 382W, on Home Information Packs, what is the estimated full-time equivalent number of individuals required to satisfy demand. (95808)

The estimated number of qualified home inspectors required after June 2007 to satisfy demand on a full-time equivalent basis would be approximately 2,200. Based on the range of current industry working practices, this means between 2,500 to 4,500 individual Home Inspectors would be required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 2 October 2006, Official Report, column 2535W, on Home Information Packs, whether her Department has produced estimated costs of a Home Condition Report in London. (95812)

The price of the pack will be determined by the market, not Government. For the purposes of preparing the RIA published in June we have assumed that costs will be similar to costs currently charged for similar products, although we expect competition and innovation will lead to a reduction in these prices.

The full Home Condition Report (HCR) will be similar in content to the existing mid-range survey on the market, The Homebuyers Survey and Valuation, which costs about £400 plus VAT on average across the country as a whole. The actual cost of the HCR will be determined by the market and this will depend, as now, on the size, condition and location of the property. We expect competition in the market to ensure that costs are held down.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what home information pack trials are taking place; where the next trials are planned; and whether the next trials will include environmental standards. (99231)

Trials will take place in Bath, Cambridge, Southampton, Northampton, Newcastle and Huddersfield. We are working with the Association of Home Information Pack Providers to ensure providers are in place to conduct the trials.

No further locations are currently planned.

The trials will include testing of the Energy Performance Certificate and the Home Condition Report.