News: HIPs back on solid ground

Tue, 04 Sep 07

Leading conveyancers have come out in support of Home Information Packs (HIPs)...

 Following recent controversy about the contents in HIPs and in particular the use of personal searches, the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP) contacted its conveyancing members to clarify whether they would be happy to rely on the contents of HIPs.

The response has been unanimous to date that all conveyancing members will rely on HIP contents, provided that the pack has been produced by a provider that subscribes to and complies with the HIP code.

 AHIPP’s conveyancing members include a wide range of organisations ranging from large national companies to small local solicitor practices and are widely representative of the marketplace as a whole.

Value and protection

They all recognise the value and protection that the HIP code affords them which extends to searches regardless of whether they have been sourced from Local Authorities or the private sector. In fact, private sector searches are only accepted under the HIP code if they comply with the search codes which are designed to protect consumers and conveyances.

 Mike Ockenden, Director General, said that Hips have been an important catalyst in bringing about reform and consumer protection in the search market. “Many local authorities have improved their service levels and reduced their costs to consumers and this should be recognised and applauded. Further the private sector has put in place meaningful protection through the search code for consumers and industry alike.”

Outright protection

Ockenden added: “The HIP code not only protects home buyers and sellers, but also estate agents, conveyancers and mortgage lenders. Consumers should therefore be aware that the conveyancer handling their purchase can rely on the contents of a HIP code compliant pack. If their conveyancer advises them that they will not, the buyer should consider using a firm that will, thus avoiding extra costs and delays in the process.”

AHIPP further said: “We strongly urge consumers and the industry to only accept packs from providers who adhere to the HIP Code. The Code protects all who rely on the pack and enables them to put total faith in the information it provides. It ensures that providers have Professional Indemnity Insurance and that there is a single point of free redress should any issues arise.”

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