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News: Estate Agents 'breaking the law'?

Mon, 04 Aug 08

The Law Society has suggested that some estate agents may be breaking the law in failing to prepare HIPs for properties they are marketing.

The packs were introduced a year ago and were made compulsory for all homes put on the market in England and Wales in December.

But Law Society president Paul Marsh said in the current slow market, many agents and private sellers are delaying drawing up the Hip, which costs £300 for each property, until a sale has been agreed.

A representative of estate agents agreed the practice was taking place.

But he said this was because the packs were 'useless' to both buyers and sellers and were needed only as a legal formality once a sale is going through.

Mr Marsh said regulations introducing Hips were 'tweaked' at the last minute to allow homes to be put on the market once a Hip has been commissioned, but before it has been completed.

He told the BBC: 'The evidence is that these Hips are being ordered and not being processed. They are being suspended until such time as a buyer is found.

'I don't think it is within the spirit of the regulations. Actually, I don't think it is within the regulations.'

Nick Salmon, a member of the board of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: 'There probably are some estate agents who are flouting the law, but it is understandable in this absolutely catastrophically bad market.'

He said agents and sellers who know a home may not sell for some months, or may not find a buyer at all, are wary of committing £300 upfront until they know that a pack will be needed.

See also: Home.co.uk: Home Information Packs: HIPS

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