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Trading Standards: Mobile signal may be material information for property listings

Agents may have to include the broadband speed and mobile signal for a property on listings in the next round of material information rules, Trading Standards has revealed.

Speaking to conveyancers at the Bold Legal Group summer conference, James Munro, head of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) outlined what could be included in Part B and C of new upfront material information rules.

He said agents are starting to comply with required material information under Part A of the changes such as leasehold terms and council tax but he did show some examples where listings were not clear.

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Munro added that Part B is still being worked through and is where it “gets more complicated.”

He said: “This is where we are saying we need to know things about a property that would be unconventional.

“Is broadband speed or mobile signal material information? 

“I went to look at a lovely property but my wife and I couldn’t get signal on our phones and there was none on my work phone.

“That sounds idyllic but is a serious issue. 

“We would say we cannot live there as we can’t do anything about it.”
 

Munro was unable to give a timeframe for when Part B and C – where listings will have to include details such as restrictive covenants – as he said work was still underway for portals to adapt their systems.

He said conveyancers would have to get involved at an earlier stage to help with Part C requirements.

Munro was also asked why Trading Standards doesn’t just enforce existing transparency rules under current consumer protection regulations.

He said: “We could have gone down the road of taking enforcement action against agents or even the portals, but that won’t necessarily solve things.

“It just puts everyone on the back foot and makes people resentful and they won’t want to work with us.

“We want to secure compliance by working together.”

Meanwhile, Bold Legal Group founder Rob Hailstone used the conference to announce the launch of a new directory of law firms happy to be instructed from day one of an instruction by sellers to help provide more upfront information.

The Bold Legal Move website will features law firms across England and Wales and will be free to use by solicitiors and agents.

Hailstone also said there would be an awareness raising national conveyancing week next spring.

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    Mobile phone signals are often dependant on your carrier. This really is getting absurd. Broadband speed can be determined by a simple on line check. Are buyer really incapable of simple basic tasks? Or are we destined to wipe their butts for them?

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    What other industry is being targeted as much as the rental market?
    Would be very interested to see the number of social properties not complying with minimum standards.

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    Had to check the date to make sure it wasn't April 1st! As Andrew Richardson points out in the previous comment, coverage and speed varies between the many providers - not to mention the quality of equipment used and a homeowners other electronic equipment that causes interference, and the structure of a building will often greatly reduce internal signal compared to outside, particularly with 5g. This is pointless. It's a concern that we are clearly heading back down the road of HIPS, which whilst well intended is only going to create potential up front costs to vendors, discouraging some speculative sellers at a time when property stock has never been needed more. Less choice for buyers, fewer transactions, higher prices. How on earth can this actually be in the interest of buyers?

  • Kieran Ryan

    Never heard such rubbish in my 37 year career- Next it will be that we have to list the milk delivery schedule? These boffins cant have a normal life?

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    For Sale, a delightful 4-bedroom cottage on the edge of this charming village. Two receptions, kitchen, delightful gardens, driveway, and garage.

    However..... The Smiths next door have a 19-year-old son who is a bit of a tearaway, the family two doors up have a yappy dog, when the wind blows from the north you can hear the A6, and someone once said there was a murder in the house in 1895. You can get a decent 4G signal on EE and O2 but not Vodaphone or Three unless you stand at the top of the garden and hold your hand in the air. The binmen are sometimes a day late, and when the farmer spreads muck on the fields on the other side of the village, there is a distinct smell of sh**.

    Where does this madness end?

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    Trading standards can barely enforce the current law, so not sure they should be making more work for themselves!

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