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Will conveyancing reform proposals see return of HIPs?

Conveyancing Association wants to improve home buying with an 'E-Home report' and stop fraud, among many proposals just published.

Nigel Lewis

House moving is about to undergo a considerable revolution if a new set of plans to reform the UK conveyancing process come to pass – including plans to introduce a version of HIPs.

The proposals are within the Conveyancing Association’s (CA) plans to shake up the conveyancing process published today. The association, which represents conveyancing firms, intends to improve almost all the sticking areas of the process that enrage so many vendors and buyers and frustrate agents as completion dates lengthen.

Firstly, it wants to add ‘certainty’ to the black hole that is the conveyancing process at the moment as well as help stamp out fraud and upgrade the quality of communication during the process.

To achieve this the CA says it will work with the whole property industry including estate agents to develop and implement its plans, partly because several of its proposals (see below) will require some heavy lobbying of government to get laws and regulations amended.

The proposals

In a nutshell, the CA’s plan document includes proposals to develop a centralised and improved ID verification process, introduce a HIPS-style ‘E-Home’ report prior to property marketing and a standardised reservation agreement for new homes sales.

Other proposals include sending monies the day before completion rather than on the day, and radical plans to overhaul the vastly unfair leasehold property market including new leases and a way for buyers and vendors to obtain redress.

The CA also wants to shake up the lending process by enabling buyers to ask for automated decisions in principle and therefore reduce post-offer enquiries, to digitise the local search process and to establish a secure portal for lenders, solicitors, buyers, vendors and agents to communicate through.

conveyancing“In a number of key areas, progress has already been made – I’m thinking particularly of leasehold reform where, thanks to the concerted efforts of stakeholders, the Government has committed to a review of leasehold tenure,” says Beth Rudolf, the CA’s Director of Delivery.

“For others, there is clearly a lot more to be done, but this Strategic Plan provides an overall guide for us to follow and focuses us on the job ahead.”

Read the full proposals.

March 14, 2017

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