The RICS has accused Ruth Kelly of misleading the House of Commons over the delay to the implementation of home information packs (Hips).
The communities secretary told parliament on Tuesday that the introduction of the packs would be put back two months to 1 August, and would apply only to four-bedroom houses.
She added that she had come to an agreement with the RICS over the move, and that the institution had dropped the judicial review of the communities department’s actions.
The RICS denies coming to such an agreement. A spokesman said: “At no time did we agree to the August start date and we had no knowledge of this four-bed policy to start with. We didn’t even know she was going to make a speech. Kelly has misled the house.”
The organisation still wants a 12-week consultation before energy performance certificates (EPC), the most contentious elements in the packs, are introduced. It said it would call off the judicial review only if this demand were met.
Kelly decided to make her announcement after the High Court indicated that the RICS has an arguable case.
Kelly stated on Tuesday that she would not introduce the certificates separately from the packs, and with only 10 weeks to go until 1 August it appears that she will have to either have to undergo the review or push back the introduction of the packs even further.
We didn’t even know Kelly was going to make a speech
Kelly also admitted that only 520 assessors would be available to award the EPCs on 1 June, rather than the 2,400 that the Association of Home Information Pack Providers had claimed.
The DCLG denied that Kelly had misled the house and insisted that an agreement had been signed by both parties on the best way forward with Hips.
A DCLG spokesman said: “We have a signed agreement between Government solicitors and RICS. It’s in black and white and we understand that RICS have now accepted this fact.
It makes crystal clear that “the Claimant’s application for judicial review will be stayed generally” on the terms set out in a legal schedule.
That agreement set out that we will make appropriate changes to the EPC and HIPs regulations so that the maximum age of an EPC on first marketing is increased from three to twelve months, pending the outcome of the public consultation exercise."