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Hidden payments revealed in Home Information Packs

Promoted by the UK government as the saviour of the UK property market but ridiculed by estate agents and surveyors as a complete waste of time, Home Information Packs (HIPs) are in news today after an undercover investigation by Channel 4. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the providers of some HIPs packages are working with estate agents and offering the potential for additional fees to be added as a "commission" for estate agents.

Very often these "additional payment" are not explained in the fine print of the HIPs packages and this has prompted the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors to confirm that undisclosed commissions are "quite wrong" and the institution will be investigating further. There are also growing concerns that the HIPs sector is effectively turning into a free for all with very little in the way of regulation by the government or any other UK authority.

At a time when the UK property market is suffering its largest decline for many years, a growing number of homeowners will be dismayed to find out that they may well be funding undisclosed commissions on top of the basic cost of HIPs. It will be interesting to see how the government and the various authorities react to these claims amid growing anger across the UK property sector from investors and homeowners alike.

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