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Revealed - why Trading Standards wants changes to property listings

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team has released background information on how it came to make changes to the information required in property listings. 

NTSELAT’s first proposed change is relatively simple - a property's council tax band or rate (for lettings and sales) and the price and tenure information (for sales) must be included on all property listings by the end of May.

However, later changes will be backed by legislation and will make it compulsory for listings to include details of utilities available within a property, non-standard features like restrictive covenants that could influence a transaction decision, plus flooding risk and other elements.


Now the Trading Standards team has released details of the research prompting the changes. 

In April 2021 National Trading Standards published a document called ‘The Case For Change - improving the provision of material information in property sales and lettings’. 

This included data from people who had moved in the previous three years or were looking to move in the following three years and showed that:

- Some 90 per cent  of respondents who use property portals would prefer to find detailed or key information about a property when they’re searching for a property on a portal;

- 87 per cent of respondents agreed that portals should include all key information about a home in their property listing;

- 54 per cent said that they would be less likely to buy or rent a property where information was missing on the property listing; and

- Some 41 per cent assumed that missing information means something must be wrong with the property.

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

Meanwhile, NTSELAT has also revealed that the Competition and Markets Authority has also been working to improve how the leasehold market works for consumers. It is investigating, and has taken action 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.

Simon Jones, the CMA’s director of consumer protection, says: “It’s important that people are fully aware of the annual costs of owning a home before they buy. The CMA’s leasehold investigation identified that clearer up-front information is needed when properties are sold and today’s announcement is a positive step in that direction.”


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