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Graham Awards


Conveyancers repeat call for HIPs-style pack to speed house moving

The Conveyancing Association has revised its wish-list of reforms to, in its words, “ensure fewer delays, a less costly process, and to create greater satisfaction for consumers” in the house-moving process.

Last month Estate Agent Today reported that the CA had prepared a 40-page 12-point plan wanting to modernise house moving; this has now been refined further following the association’s conference to discuss the proposals.

The CA’s most controversial proposal - and one which remains in the revised wish-list - is the call for the provision of “more pertinent and relevant upfront information, potentially in the form of a pre-contract pack.” 


Many industry observers have taken this to mean an updated version of the ill-fated Home Information Pack concept introduced in the early days of the first Blair government by then-housing minister Yvette Cooper.

In addition the CA now wants “greater levels of certainty for both seller and buyer in terms of exchange and completing the sale through the exploration of certain solutions such as insurance/reservation agreements/other products” as well as a general expression of interest in using technology to a greater degree to speed the conveyancing process and protect vendors against fraud.

Other calls made at the conference include “a mandatory redress scheme for all lease administrators, plus voluntary codes of practice in the leasehold sector outlining best practice particularly in terms of reasonable levels of fee-charging and response times.”

The Conveyancing Association - which represents around 50 of the top 100 UK solicitors and licensed conveyancers, collectively responsible for around 20 per cent of all property transactions - says it will further refine this wish-list during the next year.

* In a separate announcement, Simon Brown - founder of The ESTAS property awards - has revealed that the Conveyancing Association will be the industry partner for the new Conveyancing Awards over the next two years.

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    This is not a new idea from the Conveyancing Association. Many experienced conveyancers have been calling for a pre-contract pack since HIPs were abolished. Although |HIPs had its faults potential buyers could obtain advice on the information in the pack before paying out for a survey

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    HIP's haven't been abolished just "suspended". It was the vested interests of the Law Society, RICS and the NAEA, the latter led by the nose by Nick Salmon, who frustrated the introduction of HIPs at every turn. For HIP's to work they need to be compulsory so all properties in a chain have one, and to be created and made available at first point of marketing. Estate Agents working with independent HIP providers were placed in control of the process. If HIP's are re-introduced under the influence and control of conveyancers god help us all.

    Rob Hailstone

    Bit harsh Phil, especially in view of the recent rating of lawyers and agents in the table of trusted professions:)

    Like Karen said, many conveyancers are producing information upfront packs in one form or another. What we need to do is find out which ones are working the best (in the eyes of all interested parties) and get them adopted by other firms.

  • Karen James

    Ramsdens have been preparing 'Contract Ready' packs for a number of years because 1) It gives us a competitive advantage, 2) It promotes client retention and 3) It can be argued that it does reduce the transaction time once a buyer is found. We try to anticipate any query a buyer's solicitor may raise, part of the conveyancing process that often causes the most delay. Who better then, to prepare the contents than another lawyer?

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    Total red herring to the single issue with the conveyancing process: The quality of the actual conveyancer, both knowledge of the law and dynamically prompt.


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