Details appearing in property listings are to be improved to make it easier for renters and purchasers to find out essential information upfront.
The Estate and Lettings Team of National Trading Standards have launched the initiative to increase the speed and success rates of lettings and sales.
In the first phase, to start at the end of May, a listing must display a property’s council tax band (for lettings and sales) and the price and tenure information (for sales).
Further phases will be linked to legislation and will require the following information to be provided:
- Utility details
- Restrictive covenants
- Flooding risk
- Non-standard features
The list of future requirements is still under consideration and consultation with stakeholders.
There will also be supporting information which explains why the details provided are important.
If some property details are not input, this will be flagged on the listing so it can be seen what information is missing.
Legislation already exists that requires estate agents and letting agents not to omit material information in property listings. However, National Trading Standards have stated that standards of disclosure in the sector are not consistent.
James Munro, of NTSELAT, states: “This represents an important milestone in the journey to improve material information on property listings. 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.”
“I am aware that there are software companies who are already enabling this information to be included in property listings.”
“These technical changes will prompt all players in the property market to do things a bit differently. 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.”
“For consumers, a better understanding of why certain information such as a property’s tenure is important will enable them to make informed decisions when they embark on a property search.”
“This project will make it easier for estate and letting agents to meet their legal obligations and we look forward to supporting them as they get to grips with a new way of working. We also welcome the involvement of the conveyancers, lawyers and other organisations who are already on board with the process and are putting support in place for agents.”