Wednesday, 8 April 2009

HIPS and Cancellation of Contracts Legislation

HIPS - Go and get one, it is the law.

There is a good article on estate agency news about the new HIP regulations. Hang on a second, they are not new, everyone has known for some time they are coming so why a big song and dance now. Partly because of the economy as one could argue that a further hurdle to selling/buying property was the last thing the industry required. That said, it is not an overnight occurrence and on the other hand one can argue may just encourage those in the house buying/selling process to commit to the transaction.

As for agents, well it is the law, so comply with it as you ought to have been prepared for some time now. Indeed, you can make money from it! Take note of the 7 day cooling off period in contracts. Again, it is the law so comply with it. Yes it is a pain, but not the agent’s, punter's or seller's fault, blame the government if you must, but it is straightforward, wait seven days, get a HIP, market property – be professional, honest and open.

The 7 day cooling off period is pursuant to the Cancellation of Contracts Made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Etc Regulations 2008. In a nutshell, this says whenever a consumer signs any contract with a trader or professional firm they must be informed of the statutory cooling off period, during which time they can change their minds without incurring any cost or obligation.

There are a few ifs, buts, maybes and ways around the legislation (such as ensuring all contracts are signed in your office), but have a read of the article mentioned above and you will conclude that it is far easier to just comply with the legislation and ensure your firm is presenting a professional image. Indeed, I would not want to do business with a firm that arrogantly admitted to flouting legislation. I have spoken before of the importance of being open and honest in this industry and here is a situation where you should be just that.

By the way, breach of HIP legislation carries a fixed penalty fine of £200, which can rise and as a criminal offence could lead to you being taken to the Tower of London. I haven’t heard of a fixed fine or beheading yet, but if anyone has please let me know.

Anyway, I am off to my local agents under the guise of an office of fair trading official checking HIPS :)

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