The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team has published fresh guidance to help letting agents meet new requirements regarding property details.
The guidance on so-called ‘material information’ has been developed in partnership with industry leaders and major property portals, and covers Part A of what is to be a three-phased process to get more information released up-front to prospective renters and buyers.
Part A of this process covers information considered material for all properties, including the property price/rental price; the council tax band (or property rates information in Northern Ireland); and tenure information (for sales).
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.
With the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in political disarray following the Prime Ministerial crisis of last week, it’s been left to an unnamed government spokesperson to say: “The government is committed to working with the property sector to improve the home buying and selling process; supporting our mission to level up the country and create a fair housing system that works for everyone. We intend to set out our plans for the future of home buying and selling in due course, including improving the quality of upfront information available to buyers, and driving digitalisation of the residential property sector. We see this work led by NTSELAT as key to helping us drive this agenda.”
The list of material information required for Part A was announced in February this year and a further two phases are being developed.
Part B will include information which must be established for all properties, such as utilities (and similar) where non-standard features would affect someone’s decision to look any further at that property. Part C will be additional material information which may nor may not need to be established, depending on whether the property is affected or impacted by the information.
The updated list of required Part A information can be found here. All important information about the phased changes being introduced on property portals is now available on the NTS website.