Propertymark is calling in the government for agents to be trained in the use of software operating the Unique Property Reference Numbers system - similar to car licence plates.
UPRN allows each address in the country to have a unique identifying number and can have ‘attached’ to that number the sort of activities and characteristics which agents need to know about - for example, planning permission for when it was first built and subsequent extensions, building regulations, council tax payments, utility providers, EPCs, health and safety checks on rental properties, and more.
The government this week opened the UPRN system - which is held by GeoPlace, which has Ordnance Survey as its parent company - with the aim of ultimately allowing digital searches for properties producing more comprehensive information than in the past.
This is ultimately expected to slash time for conveyancing and transactions, and improve the accuracy of information passed between parties to a sale or rental.
Propertymark participated in the response process to the government’s geospatial consultation last year, and now says it “believes that it would be valuable for estate agents to be trained in the use of Geographic Information System mapping software, particularly for its use throughout the process of a sale and for marketing. Propertymark has called for Ordnance Survey to begin integrating further details already publicly available into its data to make systems easier to use and more beneficial to agents.”
ARLA says: “The data council’s hold for properties is now much more streamlined and in turn, will mean they can more efficiently deal with EPC queries which will speed up elements of an agent’s role.”
Accordng to GeoPlace, its 12-digit UPRNs are “like a National Insurance number for physical objects. Everything in Great Britain can be identified with a UPRN.”
Local and central government bodies, the emergency services, insurance providers, and utility companies already use them under a deal allowing every organisation in the public sector to use them without charge.
Last month Chris Pincher, the housing minister, welcomed the government’s opening of access to UPRNs by saying: “This is the most powerful boost for the UK PropTech sector in a generation, unlocking new levels of digital innovation on a national scale. Open identifiers are crucial for tech entrepreneurs and wider industry – they will enable housing developers to find sites that have the most potential, helping deliver much-needed new homes across the country.”