By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Lawyer says some agents can’t cope with more regulation

A leading property lawyer says some agents will struggle to meet the demand for more ‘material information’ put forward by Trading Standards.

Earlier this week the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team announced that by the end of May all property sales listings will need to contain council tax band or rate and the property price and tenure information.

Much more challenging demands are expected to be made by NTSELAT in the coming months as a second and third wave of mandatory new information will be announced in a move to improve the availability of upfront information in the conveyancing process. 


Jeremy Raj, head of residential property at Irwin Mitchell law firm, says: ”The origins of this announcement can be traced back to the Consumer Protection legislation of 2008, so many will be of the view that it is long overdue. The more alert parts of the industry have known this was coming for some time, but it is fair to say that  some parts of the industry will struggle to adapt and we are looking at a significant shift in the home buying and selling process.

“Many people will be surprised that it is only now being made clear that relatively basic ‘material’ information regarding a property must be provided up front. 

“The truth is that until now, most people making an offer on a house or flat have been woefully uninformed and had to hope that the conveyancing/survey process wouldn’t reveal anything that would cause them to change their minds about whether to proceed - or whether the price they offered was correct. The potential for wasted time, money and emotional cost has been a flaw in the system since inception.

“This first step will go some way towards redressing that flaw, although some  problems will remain, and the position will still be that neither buyer nor seller will be bound to proceed until contracts have been exchanged. It also remains to be seen how much of the up-front information in the second and third phases the public will actually want to see or be able to evaluate themselves. Agents and conveyancers will need to take real care when supplying or explaining the information.”

He continues: “Many in the industry will be scrambling to get themselves up to speed with the new requirements, which in the second and third phases will become quite onerous and will involve a dramatic change in the timing of information gathering and presentation. Another question is how widely this will be policed, and to what extent – enforcement by way of unlimited fines and a prison sentence of up to two years are likely to sharpen peoples’ focus and compliance rather quickly.”

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

NTSELAT 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.

In addition to this initiative, the Competition and Markets Authority has also been working to improve how the leasehold market works for consumers. It is investigating and has acted against potential breaches of consumer protection law in the leasehold housing market, including unfair contract terms in leases as well as broader allegations of mis-selling of leasehold property. 

The CMA has also stressed the importance of people being  fully aware of the annual costs of owning a home before they buy, and that clearer upfront information is needed when properties are sold. 

  • charlotte Jeffrey- campbell

    Agents need to be confident that their staff understand the CPR’s - it’s one of our most watched and asked for training courses on Able Agent

  • icon

    A rather poor attitude from a lawyer aimed at Estate Agents unable to cope.

  • icon
    • N W
    • 23 February 2022 09:40 AM

    been doing this for years......

    Lenny White

    Yep, I think the majority of agents have been. It ain't rocket science. I also cannot think of a single sale ever falling through due to tenure, or Council tax. Conversely, I have a couple of sales (as ever) on the rocks due to massive delays and ineffiencies with the lawyers on both sides.

  • Murray Lee

    Isnt it enough we all now are the HMRC's guards and have to do all the Right to Rent stuff as well!

    Dont we have enough to do????

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Will agents really be 'scrambling' to present a handful of readily accessible and vital pieces of data? We only ever did sales as a 'bolt on' to our lettings operation but we always presented this data upfront.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up