Propertymark is alerting agents to ensure they meet and if needs be exceed the requirements for ‘material information’ on up-front property details.
The call has come following the publication earlier this week of additional guidelines for agents on the subject, provided by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team.
Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson says: “There has been much debate around some elements of the updated rules, but now the first set has come into force and the guidance is clear in its expectation it’s important they are adhered to. Our advice to agents is to carry out a full review of all their existing listings to ensure they are compliant. We will be supporting Propertymark members to ensure listings in their branch windows, online or elsewhere are meeting all current legal requirements.”
The guidance from NTSELAT was developed with industry bodies and the major portals.
The guidance refers to Part A, the first element of a three-phase process; this phase covers information considered material for all properties, including the property price, the council tax band and tenure information. Part B and C requirements will include mentioning issues such as restrictive covenants and information on utilities.
The plan is for these to be introduced over the next year but the guidance makes it clear that Trading Standards suggests agents shouldn’t wait.
For phase A the property portals have been working to include new data fields on their sites, many of which are now in place.
If these new fields are left empty by an agent, this is flagged on the listing so consumers can see what information is missing. In many cases, the fields also include a link to advice for consumers as to why that information is important and how to find it.
James Munro, senior manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, says: “For years, agents have been calling for clarity around the disclosure of material information and it’s brilliant to see the property industry coming together to deliver a better service for consumers looking to buy or rent a home. I’m particularly grateful to the portals for their commitment and efforts to get Part A off the ground and I hope the new guidance will help them as they support agents to make the required information available.”
The guidance can be found on a new, dedicated webpage on the National Trading Standards website, which will include all key documents published by NTSELAT as part of its material information work.