© Press Association 2010

Estate agents have welcomed the news that controversial home information packs (Hips) are being scrapped with immediate effect.

The move means homeowners will no longer need to spend money providing one of the packs before they can put their property up for sale.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles laid an order before Parliament suspending Hips, pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition.

But sellers will still be required to get an energy performance certificate, showing how energy efficient a property is, within 28 days of putting their home on the market.

The news was welcomed by the property industry, which has long called for an end to the packs, saying they failed to help home buyers and discouraged people from putting their property on the market.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: "For those of us who have weathered the turbulent market conditions of the past year, the suspension of Hips is very welcome news.

"It will be greeted enthusiastically by both the housing market and house buyers, few of whom have paid much attention to these pointless packs."

Gillian Charlesworth, spokeswoman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: "Hips have failed to address the significant problems in the home buying process they were originally supposed to tackle, and RICS is pleased that one of the first acts of the new Government has been to clearly show their intention to abolish them.

"Taking a swift decision will have minimised the impact on the market and ensured that estate agents who stick to the rules will not lose out.

"The Government must now use this opportunity to move on positive discussions about improving the home buying process, working closely with the industry and professional bodies that have already done a lot of work on this issue. There is now the opportunity to start again with a clean slate and come up with innovative proposals to reform the system."