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Do I Need to Use a Solicitor?

By: Christine Whitfield BA (hons) - Updated: 10 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Do I Need To Use A Solicitor?

Home Information packs are a reality. Despite the criticisms the Government initiative has received there's no getting away from it now. As of last year all houses put on the market must have a Home Information Pack containing all the information the buyer needs to know about the property. There had been talk that the packs would dampen an already flagging housing market but this remains to be seen.

The market which is suffering anyway due to the global credit crunch, the plight of first-time buyers and the interest rate rises last year may or may not be affected by the packs but for homeowners wishing to sell there home there's very little that can be done.

In fact rather than worrying about any future problems the packs may cause what homeowners should now be thinking about is how to compile the pack.

Should I Use a Solicitor?

The Law Society has recently launched a campaign urging homeowners wishing to sell their home to get a solicitor to help compile their Home Information Pack. The packs included various documents indicating the condition of the house, local authority information and the energy efficiency of the property. It is the seller's obligation to make sure all the information is present and correct. The Law Society says it is beneficial to sellers to have a solicitor on board to make sure they are compiling the pack correctly.

Can't I do it on My Own?

There is no law that says you should use a solicitor to compile a home information pack. You are perfectly within your right to compile the pack yourself. However it is vital that the packs are compliant with the rules set out put by the Government and it is therefore considered safer to enlist the help of a solicitor when compiling the pack.

What do the Government Day?

The Law Society's campaign comes at the same time as campaign from the Department of Communities and Local Government on the legal obligations and implications of producing an accurate HIP. It is down to the seller to make sure the HIP complies with these obligations or face the consequences which can include a hefty fine.

The costs involved in moving home may deter people from splashing out further to hire a solicitor but this may result in costly consequences. The Law Society aims to highlight the benefits of producing a safe and accurate pack and the risks of producing one yourself. You may not be too keen to cough up solicitor's fees but are you willing to pay a £1000 fine for providing an unsatisfactory HIP?

Like it or not but HIPs are here to stay, for the foreseeable future anyway. And if you want to make your house selling process run as smoothly as possible it may well be worth contacting a solicitor to discuss getting help putting a pack together. It also means you can share the responsibility leaving you free to sort out everything else involved in moving home!

Compiling Home Information Packs is a reality for home owners wanting to sell their home but do you need a solicitors help?HIP home information pack compiling Law Society information solicitor government legislation obligation

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These days most estate agents seem to be set up to help you assemble the HIP without involving a solicitor, and they'll include it in their costs, so everything is above board and legal. With the help available online and in books these days, it's unlikely you'd need to use and pay for a solicitor to put together a good HIP that's completely within the law, even if you assembled it yourself. Only pay for a solicitor if you feel that you absolutely must!
Kath - 2-Jul-12 @ 1:59 PM
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