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Propertymark’s ringing endorsement for Material Information changes

Propertymark’s property auction division - NAVA - has given ringing endorsement to the Material Information changes demanded under new Trading Standards Rules. 

Prior to these changes, auction legal packs - which are legal documents prepared by the seller’s solicitor - did not have to be compiled before a property was marketed, but now they do.  

Michael Holden, president of NAEA Propertymark, says: “This is a good move forward, but it really needs teeth. I think there needs to be regulation and I think this should be on an election manifesto. There is so much obfuscation in the selling process.” 


And Richard Worrall, NAVA Propertymark president, adds: “The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) released comprehensive new guidelines with regards to all parts of their Material Information Programme at the end of November 2023. 

“Part A of their guidelines was issued in February 2022. The introduction of Parts B and C are aimed at further enhancing the consumer experience when purchasing property. 

“As auctioneers, we already supply nearly all of the information required of Parts B and C. These are included in the auction legal pack supplied by the sellers’ solicitor to auctioneers prior to auction in order for prospective purchasers to satisfy themselves before bidding on their chosen property. The disclosure of all material information to prospective purchasers is paramount in allowing them to make an informed and confident decision prior to purchasing at auction.” 

A NAVA Advisory Panel member, Stuart Collar-Brown of My Auction, comments: “The changes are a huge advancement in the property market in terms of material information and will see potential buyers supplied with much more in depth information than they have been previously.  

 “The biggest message to estate agents and lettings agents is not to panic about material information for parts B and C. Most of what they will now ask for is information that you are able to find out easily via various portals and websites as well as liaising with your client on information only they and their solicitors would know. 

 “Effectively the Trading Standards Agency is asking you to do a full legal pack now when marketing a property, but this is something that the auction industry has been doing for decades. The changes are a good thing and will provide a potential buyer with much more transparency. It will also help disperse unmotivated sellers in the market. Sellers are not going to waste time and money to pay for these packs if they are not genuinely serious about selling.  

 “The changes mean that when an agent starts marketing the property, questions around things like titles, lease arrangements, service charges will already be answered. It will also look at factors like allocated parking, communal areas, shared access and more. Just think how much time and stress this change will take away, with all the information being provided upfront, at the start of any transaction. We’ll see less fall through rates and more robust offers with buyers less likely to pull out after three to four months if they have all the essential information before they even view. 

“We’ll also see faster transaction times with property sales able to exchange far quicker. For agents, shorter conveyance times and less fall throughs means more money into the business, which is always going to be seen as a good thing.”

As most agents will know, Part A was one of three directives enforced by National Trading Standards from May 2022, which covers material information for property listings. These standards were issued to lettings and estate agents not to intentionally exclude certain information in property listings, while guarding potential buyers and tenants when looking for a home.  

Parts B and C were added to the material information guidelines, and they will have consequences for lettings and estate agents. This is because the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) intend to implement a fairer set of definitions relating to which information contributes towards the concept of material information. 

The intention behind material information is to deploy the technology of platforms like Rightmove to monitor how agents describe a home, with a lot of work needed for printed brochures and agents’ websites.  

National Trading Standards want Part A to guarantee that all property listings contain the following information:  

- Tenure: If a home is freehold, commonhold or leasehold, this must be stated clearly, as should how much of a percentage homeowners would have in a shared ownership property.  

- Council tax or property rates.  

- The asking price or rent.  

- Energy Performance Certificates.  

It was announced that Parts B and C of the material information rules are to be enforced as of June 2023.  Part B covers non-standard features that could determine someone’s choice to purchase a home such as parking, construction, and utilities options. Part C includes information that may or may not impact a person’s choice to purchase a home such as conservation area inclusion, listed status, easements, building safety and flood plains.


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