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Loophole 'will improve Hips implementation'

A loophole in home information packs (Hips) could accidentally improve their eventual rollout, a property expert has claimed.Miles Shipside, commercial director of online estate agent Rightmove, made the claim about the terms of the controversial initiative's delayed introduction on August 1st.He argued that as sellers are obliged to have "commissioned" a pack to market a property rather than physically have the documents in their possession, many will not bother to acquire them until they find a prospective purchaser.As many critics of the Hips scheme have said the cost of the packs will deter potential sellers from putting their houses on the market, this may inadvertently help their eventual introduction.Mr Shipside said the commissioning of Hips would be "virtually impossible to police, so I can see lots of documents not being ordered till a purchaser has been found".He added: "Ironically elements of this may prove to be a more effective solution than is coming out of the Hips trial areas that have been running for some months".Hips were due to become mandatory for all properties in the UK on June 1st but on Tuesday communities secretary Ruth Kelly announced a two-month delay. They will now be phased in gradually, with only four-bedroom houses â€" about a quarter of the total market - subject to the August 1st implementation date.Rightmove's report confirms that the property market did see a surge of houses going on the market in the approach to the aborted June 1st introduction.Some estate agents saw a 20 to 30 per cent increase in new listings "just before it was pulled" and there are now fears a similar â€" albeit muted â€" rush will occur on four-bedroomed houses before August 1st.

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