Are estate agents creating a ‘grey market’ by flouting the law on HIPs? This is suggested in an article in yesterday’s Sunday Express “Estate Agents Break Law on Hated HIPs “:
The article reveals that agents are routinely marketing houses without yet commencing a HIP. It quoted the NAEA as having had “numerous” complaints from its members that unscrupulous agents were bypassing the law. Peter Bolton King, NAEA chief executive, commented that “It was ‘very common’ for agents to advise house sellers they would sort out the HIP later”.
Reaction has been swift, with Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps commenting: “This demonstrates how pointless HIPs are. If we win the election next year, HIPs will be history. ”
However, the fact remains that even if the agent is not caught by Trading Standards, there is no denying the fact that there is no HIP once the seller finds a buyer. The first thing the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor is going to request is the HIP. If this is not available, the agent risks being reported to the NAEA or Trading Standards.
A disgruntled buyer may have been the party who recently tipped off Gloucester Trading Standards. They recently fined five anonymous estate agents £200 each for apparently failing to produce EPCs in their HIPs.