Breaking of HIP laws

This week has been eventful for sure in the continued life of Home Information Packs. HIPS are now 1 year old and news headlines continue to be made from the debate on Home Information Packs (HIPS). Recently, significant reports of non-compliance of the legislation have come to light and been acknowledged by leading figures involved within the industry.

Yesterday, it was widely reported by many news agencies including the BBC that some agents, I must stress only ‘some’ agents; are flouting the law and are proceeding to market properties without the legally required Home information Packs.

By law the Home Information Pack must be commisioned prior to the marketing of the property. This should be done by the individual home seller or the estate agent acting on behalf of the home seller. At present the HIP pack needs to have been ordered, with this confirmed  marketing can commence whilst the HIP is compiled. This exception is under review and will probably be removed in December meaning that the Home Information Pack would need to be in place as per the Home Information Pack regulations before marketing would legally be allowed to start. would welcome this exception being removed. This ‘tweaked’ legislation has given room for it to be abused and the benefits of the HIP pack to home sellers and buyers affected. currently complete HIPS, on average within six working days, delivering direct to the client, estate agent or both.

The BBC reports (the following is an excerpt):

However, in the current troubled housing market, it seems some estate agents are not commissioning Hips when the property goes on the market, something which by law they are supposed to do.

According to Paul Marsh, president of the Law Society, the practice is common across England and Wales.

“The evidence we’re receiving from right across the country, be it Cornwall, London or the North East England, is that solicitors are not receiving a Hip when the deal is struck.”

“You would have expected that the Hip would be available immediately the agreement [to accept an offer] is reached.

“We’re not getting a Hip until three to four weeks later, sometimes not until exchange of contracts.”

Action is now being considered by trading standards; it is important to remember that potentially a fine of £200 per day can be applied for marketing of a property without following the Home Information Pack legislation.

It appears that the delay in solicitors receiving the HIP could be a direct result of the agents in question only commisioning the Home Information Pack once the property has received a confirmed offer and then supplying to the clients solicitor once received; which negates the benefit of the HIP speeding up the process.

If the legislation is followed there is no reason why the HIP pack can not be transferred to the solicitor almost immediately; can do this easily and efficiently as we store and deliver the components electronically as standard.

HIPS are far from ‘dead’ as some organisations would like you to believe. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) have consistently been against Home Information Packs since their introduction and would like to see them removed from the process. The Conservatives continue to use HIPS as a ‘political football’ with no viable alternative suggestions in how they would address the issues within the housing market that HIPS, if correctly applied are helping improve.

HIPS are developing, progressing and providing benefits to the house buying and selling process. Just this week it has been announced that a Property Information Questionaire (P.I.Q.) will be included in the future which will add further benefit to the packs current usefulness.

The Home Information Pack continues to have it’s critics and those resistant to allowing the HIP achieving the improvements it was designed to make. There are rogue elements within most industries and these reports do nothing to help improve the reputations of ‘estate agents’ in general. It is hard not to see this as a shame particularly for those that work with, whom take meeting their legal obligations seriously.

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