MDA SearchFlow reveals that most local authorities are still struggling with new April 6th HIP legislation
Although many local authorities are catching up quickly, problems with pricing, billing, and access to search information are still widespread
MDA SearchFlow (www.searchflow.co.uk), the UK's largest property search information provider, has today revealed that there are significant problems developing with the ability to book and service HIP-compliant personal search requests, just ten days after the launch of new regulations in this area. In some regions, it is now taking up to four times longer to book search requests, with the need to contact four or five separate departments – such as planning, highways. building control and environmental health – in order to get the extra information required by the new HIP legislation.
The new HIP regulations – introduced on 6th April 2009 – have had a major impact on the way in which property search information is obtained and managed. These latest changes – which included the addition of a Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) – now require local authorities to provide access to private search companies for all relevant data, so that a complete personal search can contain all the data required to fully comply with the new regulations.
"Unfortunately, it's becoming clear that a large number of local authorities are not geared up to handle these types of search requests, and that they don't have the payment mechanisms or pricing in place to process these transactions properly. This means that providing compliant searches post April 6th is becoming very problematic for search companies," says Andrew Lloyd, Managing Director, MDA SearchFlow. "This, together with an understandable spike in orders prior to the April 6th deadline, has meant that backlogs are now building, which will affect turnaround times on searches. Sadly, this also has the potential to affect non-HIP (buyers) search requests and CON29 requests, depending on the local authority affected."
MDA SearchFlow is doing everything possible to address these backlogs, through ongoing liaison with local authorities nationwide, and by bolstering the number of its employees who are processing requests and contacting clients. The Company is continuing to monitor the situation daily, in terms of which local authorities are publishing their new pricing and service details, in order to ensure that the full information can be delivered as quickly, accurately and effectively as possible. As such, a daily management panel convenes every morning to evaluate how the situation is developing across the country, in order to pass this information to clients and staff.
"Given the current situation and the need to obtain fully compliant information to satisfy the new April 6th regulations, it is inevitable that search results will take longer to complete in the coming weeks, until stability and clarity is restored at many local authority operations," Lloyd adds. "Having said that, we would rather delay putting a search into the HIP than compromise the quality of that search. One of the reasons that HIPs were first introduced was to give prospective purchasers quality information on which to make an informed decision regarding proceeding with the purchase, and a search that contains all available information is key to achieving this. All other search companies will be facing these same issues, unless they are cutting corners in obtaining all the information that is available to produce a complete personal search."
MDA SearchFlow has reminded its clients that searches are not required to be obtained and included in a HIP until 28 days after ordering. As a result, whilst it is frustrating not to have all the information available as early as possible, the “Marketing Ready” elements (such as the PIQ) can be prepared immediately, so that properties can be put on the market straight away.
About MDA SearchFlow
Built on entrepreneurial vision 25 years ago, MDA SearchFlow is the UK’s number one property search information provider. The Company provides a one-stop shop for sending and receiving property searches and Home Information Pack (HIP) content for legal professionals, estate agents, and HIP providers who conduct property and other financial transactions.
In April 2006, Macdonald Dettwiler & Associates (MDA) acquired the interests of SearchFlow and PSA and the merged company, MDA SearchFlow was created. It is run by the existing SearchFlow management team with over 50 years combined experience in the property industry. The web address is http://www.searchflow.co.uk
Chaz Brooks, CBC
Tel: +44 (0)1483 537 890
Tel: 0870 787 7625
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