In a significant move to enhance transparency in the UK’s property market, the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) has issued comprehensive guidance on material information disclosure for property listings. This initiative, developed in collaboration with major property portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla, aims to clarify what constitutes ‘material information’ for estate and letting agents.
The guidance is structured into three parts. Part A, introduced last year, covers essential details such as council tax bands, property prices, and tenure information for sales. The newly released Parts B and C delve deeper into property specifics.
- Part B mandates disclosure of general property details like the type of property, building materials, room count, and utility and parking information.
- Part C focuses on property-specific issues such as flood risk and restrictive covenants, only applicable if the property is affected.
These guidelines are in response to the industry’s call for clarity and are designed to align with the Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs). Under CPRs, any information impacting a consumer’s decision can be considered material. The absence of a clear definition of material information until now has left agents vulnerable to enforcement action. The new guidance aims to mitigate this risk, ensuring that agents meet their legal obligations and provide consumers with all necessary information.
A novel aspect of this guidance is the recommendation for sellers to engage conveyancers early in the process. This ensures that validated information is available for marketing and that potential issues are addressed promptly. Buyers and renters will benefit from additional data fields in property listings, with unprovided information being flagged and explained. This approach promotes informed decision-making for consumers.
NTSELAT plans to monitor the implementation of these guidelines on major portals over the next 12 months. Agents are encouraged to use free text to input information while waiting for dedicated categories to be set up.
NTSELAT provides links for further information on the webpage below and will conduct a series of webinars.
NTSETLAT has published the following short guides:
This initiative has been met with widespread support from agents. A 2021 survey showed that 91% of agents favored a defined list of basic material information, underscoring the industry’s desire for improved clarity and streamlined transactions.