The UK Association of Letting Agents says new requirements for additional upfront property information should end up actually saving agents time.
By the end of April all property listings must include the council tax band or rate (for lettings and sales), as well as the property price and tenure information (for sales). Over the coming weeks, data fields for these particulars will start to appear on the portals.
Then later changes - again introduced by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team - will mean agents will have to add further ‘material information’. This would include, for example, restrictive covenants, flood risk and other specific factors that may impact certain properties.
UKALA says the benefits of the NTSELAT requirements are clear - “Prospective tenants will be able to decide the suitability of the property. They will not need to waste their time and money visiting and applying for properties which they later change their mind about when they are given more information.“
In a note to the association’s members, it says: “Whilst this will mean that agents and their landlords will have to make more effort to gather information before a property is listed, it will mean that only those prospective tenants who remain genuinely interested will view and apply, saving agents wasted time.
“It should also result in fewer disagreements between tenants and landlords as, for example, the tenant will have known from the first listing that parking of a commercial vehicle or running a business was prohibited.”
The additional information required from the end of April is only ‘phase A’, the first of three phases of enhanced upfront details which NTSELAT will be insisting upon.
UKALA tells its members: “Property management software providers will need to engage with the portals to understand what changes they will need to make, and agents’ website developers may need to understand from the guidance what they will need to do for the agent’s own website.
“However, Phase A implementation should not be too demanding. Early engagement with these third parties is recommended.”