Material information for property listings rules updated

Under newly announced rules by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT), a property's council tax band or rate, price and tenure (for sales) must now be included on all property listings by the end of May 2022.

With support from Propertymark and other industry leaders —The Lettings Industry Council, The Property Ombudsman, The Property Redress Scheme, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, The UK Association of Letting Agents, — OnTheMarket, PropertyPal, Rightmove and Zoopla — NTSELAT has kicked off its three-phase project which has been developed in response to defining what constitutes material information for property listings.

Part A of the initiative, announced 21 February 2022, requires information that, regardless of the outcome, is always considered material for all properties regardless of location. This is information that involves unavoidable costs that will be incurred by the occupier, regardless of how the property is to be used.

As a result, new data fields are to be incorporated on portals over the coming weeks meaning that information such as property tenure, property price and council tax information will be flagged when left empty by an agent.

Consumer protection

Under current legislation, as set out in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, estate and letting agents are legally obliged not to omit material information from consumers on property listings, however current disclosure practices are not consistent across the industry.

The initiative means that consumers will be more knowledgeable about potential properties they have expressed interest in, helping to make selling and buying processes easier and reduce fall-through rates.

Following Part A, rules incorporated by NTSELAT will progress to:

  • Part B: Information that must be established for all properties. It applies mainly to utilities (and similar), where non-standard features would affect someone’s decision to look any further at that property.
  • Part C: Additional material information that may or may not need to be established, depending on whether the property is affected or impacted by the information. Applies to properties affected by the issue itself because of, for example, the location of the property.

Levelling Up

NTSELAT wants all material information to be mandatory once all three phases of the project have been completed and there is the possibility that the rules may become legislation after the initiative was mentioned in the recent Levelling Up White Paper.

Sales Protocol Toolkit

Focusing on improving the sales experience on all sides, Propertymark members can access the Sales Protocol Toolkit, a free resource that can help to speed up transactions, reduce the fall-though rate and ensure compliance with CPRs through reducing duplication of information.

Estate agents who are using the toolkit have reported a reduction in transaction times, down to seven weeks in some cases.

Sales Protocol Toolkit

The toolkit offers huge potential to speed up transactions, reduce fall-through rates and comply with Consumer Protection Regulations.

Propertymark are supportive of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Teams’ initiative, and I am really pleased we have been able to be involved.

Being able to provide transparent material information upfront is essential to helping all parties in the home buying and selling process make informed decisions.

The industry has long held the goal of decreasing the time required to progress from sale agreed to completion and these improvements are in sight.

Nathan Emerson CEO | Propertymark

I’m delighted with the progress that has been made with the industry to help define and clarify what constitutes material information and I am grateful to the property portals and other industry leaders who have supported this work.

Vendors and agents may find that bringing conveyancers on board at the outset helps ensure all information is available for marketing, and issues with things like restrictive covenants or boundaries can be addressed earlier.

James Munro Senior Manager | NTSELAT
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