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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agents Alert - new info must be included on all property listings

Trading Standards and the government have jointly announced compulsory new data which must appear on property listings.

A property's council tax band or rate (for lettings and sales) and the property price and tenure information (for sales) must be included on all property listings by the end of May.

Data fields for these particulars will start to appear on portals over the coming weeks.

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These changes represent the first phase of a project by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team in partnership with industry leaders and major property portals, to define what constitutes ‘material information’ for property listings.

NTSELAT says the new required information is the first of three phases. 

Part A of this three-phase project includes information that is considered material for all properties. A further two phases are being developed, which will incorporate further material information such as restrictive covenants, flood risk and other specific factors that may impact certain properties.

As new data fields for tenure, price and council tax are added to portals, if they are left empty by an agent, this will be flagged on the listing so consumers can see what information is missing. This will link to advice on why that information is important and how it may be obtained.  

National Trading Standards wants all material information to be mandatory on property listings once all three phases of the project are complete. At that stage, agents will need to include all the required information before it is listed on a property portal.

A statement this morning from NTSELAT claims it has evidence showing overwhelming support within the industry for the mandatory disclosure of material information.

It says benefits include a reduction in unnecessary enquiries, swifter sales and fewer transaction fall-throughs. 

James Munro, senior manager at NTSELAT, says: “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.”

A minister from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities - Neil O'Brien - comments:  “A key part of levelling up is creating a fair and just housing system that works for everyone, and this includes supporting more first-time buyers to move onto the housing ladder. Far too often when buying and selling properties​, deals fall through, costing young people thousands of pounds in wasted expense. By providing all the necessary information up front, this can be avoided, and it will make the process of buying a first home much easier and more cost-effective.”

NTSELAT says estate agent letting agents will be supported to prepare for the changes at each stage by Trading Standards in partnership with professional bodies and redress schemes. 

A full list of the Part A material information is available on the National Trading Standards website here; this also gives an overview of the type of information that will be included in Parts B and C.

Full guidance for the industry is being developed in conjunction with industry partners to cover all three phases, as well as guidance to support consumers looking to buy, sell or rent a property.

The steering group behind today's changes includes members from redress schemes and professional bodies representing agents alongside OnTheMarket, Rightmove and Zoopla in collaboration with software companies. Northern Ireland’s PropertyPal portal is piloting the project in advance of its wider adoption across the UK. 

  • Algarve  Investor

    All seems pretty sensible to me. Unless I'm missing an obvious flaw?

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    Just well overdue.

     
  • Richard Copus

    Property price and tenure have been mandatory under the TPOS code for a few years now so nothing new here and the length of the lease, unexpired term, ground rent and maintenance charges are meant to be included too. The Council Tax band just makes added sense.

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    Is it too much hard work for a tenant or buyer to visit the a council website then or ask (we cite the band anyway, but law??) As for Flood Risk and Covenants, Oh dear. Considering most Lawyers take an age to digest covenants and they don't have a clear answer so half of them just seek indemnities, good luck with that. Flood risks? yeah guessed by LIDAR on a plane or a computer simulation and report companies issuing panic alerts when houses are 25m from a 1 in 1000 flood zone - UP HILL to get a pricey further investigation that finds no risk!

  • Murray Lee

    Been doing it for ages

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    • N W
    • 21 February 2022 11:24 AM

    been doing it for decades

  • Trevor Cooper

    Does it mean properties cannot be advertised as Price On Application?
    And what about properties up for auction, and the Scottish system of Offers In Excess Of?

  • Bryan Mansell

    Great to finally see the industry acting on a long overdue requirement. We have supported this for 2 years and have many forward-thinking agents already doing this across the country.

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    I started selling houses in 1996 and never marketed one without this basic information. I however support the step taken as it is a small step in the right direction as the whole process needs to be made easier for the buyers and tenants. With research showing buyers want to know more about a property before they offer and sellers saying they want to be open about the information they have about the property, more information Up Front seems an obvious next step. Where does the resistance come from?

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    Can anyone advise how they find the tenure? Apart from paying for this information

    Thanks

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    • N W
    • 21 February 2022 13:14 PM

    if you haven't got in house software for this then in the main most of us go onto Land Reg every time but to be honest as part of your due diligence (to check the owners are who they say they are etc) you should be doing this anyway just to cover yourself (had the odd occasion with tenants making claim they own a property - saves us a journey every time it happens and a frank conversation with them for not telling us the truth)

     
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    All wonderful stuff… except most buyers don’t look at any of the details before making an enquiry.

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    Sorry, Still nobody has come back with a way of gathering the information for free

    Thank you

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    Oh

    And why is it not free already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • N W
    • 22 February 2022 10:10 AM

    I think its called capitalism John. You pay for services and info?

     
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