A leading conveyancing firm has recently stated that conveyancing cases are taking longer because agents are not passing over details of HIPs. By way of justifying their logic they refer to one case where an agent referred a conveyancing case to the firm on June 17, asking it to act for the buyer.
The estate agent allegedly indicated that a HIP was available on the property, but it took five weeks before the estate agent gave the firm the whereabouts of the HIP. The conveyancing firm say that as a result of the delay it could not know if it would be able to rely upon the searches in the HIP.
What this leading law firm are saying is that essentially HIPs are holding up matters as opposed to speeding up matters which was of course the government’s intention.
This is not intended to be a forum for debating the rights and wrongs of HIPs but regardless of the criticism that has been levied at HIPs, it is unfair to hold out one case where an agent has been unable to locate the HIP as causing a delay.
How many HIPs for example have dramatically sped up the transaction because the bulk of the conveyancing documentation is available right at the outset of the deal. Conveyancers should think back to a pre-HIP situation where it would not be unusual to wait for weeks to receive legal documentation from the seller’s lawyers because they would claim that the seller had been slow in giving them information or the bank or building society were holding up the deeds to the property.
The fact remains that since the introduction of HIPs the average time that a buyer’s conveyancer has to wait for legal documentation has probably been shaved by 75 per cent. This has been helped by the regulations that come into effect from April 2009 whereby a property cannot be marketed without a fairly substantive pack of legal document available.
A case of a conveyancing firm losing sight of the wood from the trees?