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Dodgy HIPs Emerge

The Law Society has warned property buyers and sellers to be watch out for dodgy Home Information Packs (HIPs), after alarm were raised by the government that some dodgy Home Information Pack providers are putting in the wrong documents.

Communities and Local Government (CLG) have today expressed concern that some HIPs providers were using ‘Register Views’ – photocopies of Land Register records – as evidence of title. CLG point out the HIPs Regulations 2007 require the inclusion of an ‘official copy’ from the Land Registry of the individual register and title plan, and that Register Views were insufficient.

Law Society vice-president, Paul Marsh, says:

‘This is further proof that some HIPs providers do not understand, or choose not to understand, the regulations. The result is that sellers and buyers are being short-changed with sub-standard HIPs that will be quite rightly thrown in the dustbin by the buyer's solicitor.

‘If you are selling up, choose a solicitor to compile your HIP. Solicitors understand the regulations and can therefore ensure the HIP meets the required standard.’

The Law Society points out that evidence of title is one of the compulsory documents required in a HIP. Copies of the official documents are available from the Land Registry. If there are errors in the register, the Land Registry will take responsibility for it. Register Views do not provide such a safety net for consumers.

Paul Marsh says: ‘Buyers as well as sellers need to make sure the property's HIP contains the correct documents. If it later emerges that there was an error and the property's HIP contains nothing more than a Register View, there is no recompense available from the Land Registry.’