Clarity provided on property advertising terms

The terminology surrounding the renting and sale of properties can be confusing for some consumers and new guidance from the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) provides definitions of commonly used terms to improve consistency and understanding for everyone involved.

Woman looking at properties in window

Principally based on the application of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the glossary of terms will act as a refresher for agents, to ensure they are using the correct language when selling and letting their clients’ homes and will avoid ambiguity and possible frustration.

Propertymark encourages all member agents to read the definitions to help themselves and their clients, as well as remain compliant with the current requirements.

Will your customers know what you mean?

There are many terms used to describe the status of a property during the marketing process, such as ‘new on the market’, ‘new instruction’, ‘under offer’, ‘sale/let agreed’, ‘sold/let subject to contract’, ‘sold/let’ etc. and there is some confusion within the industry about the use of these terms and what they mean. If agents aren’t sure, then how can they expect the public to understand what they mean?

Agents must be responsible for clear communication

It is a legal requirement that the marketing status of a property is accurately described and updated in a timely manner, as this is material information for prospective purchasers and tenants. It is the responsibility of the agent to ensure that this information is clear, unambiguous, and up to date when the advertising of a property is still live.

Whilst the use of any of the terms listed in the new guidance is voluntary, agents must still ensure that material information about the status of the property is clearly communicated to potential buyers or renters across all platforms they are listed on.

Speeding up the process

Providing easily understood details supports consumers to make informed choices about a property and helps to reduce time spent on speculative enquiries and ultimately the number of failed transactions. Where there are delays in updating a property’s status or the use of incorrect descriptions can lead to an agent being in breach of industry codes and their legal obligations.

Propertymark supporting agents

James Munro, Head of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team will be speaking at our Regional and National Conferences throughout the Autumn, to outline how the guidance can help agents and consumers.

Stage spotlight shining downwards

We have doubled the size of our conference programme for 2023 in response to demand. Members will also receive a £100 Regional Conference credit as we commit to our make it free for 23 campaign. 

Learn with our Consumer Protection Regulations and How to Comply training course that provides practical approaches to managing risk and ensuring compliance for sales and lettings agents.

Use our Property Information Questionnaire to gather all the correct material information at the start of the sales process to assist compliance and help buyers make that correct informed decision.

Download the Trading Standards guidance