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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Material information update: Agents reminded of disclosure requirements

Agents are being reminded that they still have an obligation to provide all material information as the sector awaits Part B and C of Trading Standards' overhaul of listings rules. 

It comes as the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) published new guidance and a dedicated website on Part A material information for property listings. 

 The guidance has been developed with industry leaders and the UK’s major property portals, including Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket and PropertyPal.
The guidance can be found on a new, dedicated webpage on the National Trading Standards (NTS) website, which will include all key documents published by NTSELAT as part of its material information work. 

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Part A of this three-phase process covers information considered material for all properties, including the property price, the council tax band and tenure information. 

Part B and C requirements will include mentioning issues such as restrictive covenants and information on utilities.

The plan is for these to be introduced over the next year but a note in the guidance today suggests agents shouldn’t wait.

It said: “Part A is part of a three-phrase approach to this programme of work. 

“The steering group continue to work on the information deemed material for Part B and Part C and further details of this will be released in due course. However, even without these categories being released you are still under an obligation to provide all material information in relation to your day-to-day business activities.”

The property portals have been working to include new data fields on their sites, many of which are now in place. 

If these new fields are left empty by an agent, this is flagged on the listing so consumers can see what information is missing. In many cases, the fields also include a link to advice for consumers as to why that information is important and how to find it.  

James Munro, senior manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, said: “For years, agents have been calling for clarity around the disclosure of material information and it’s brilliant to see the property industry coming together to deliver a better service for consumers looking to buy or rent a home. 

“I’m particularly grateful to the portals for their commitment and efforts to get Part A off the ground and I hope the new guidance will help them as they support agents to make the required information available.” 

A Government spokesperson said:  “The government is committed to working with the property sector to improve the home buying and selling process; supporting our mission to level up the country and create a fair housing system that works for everyone. 

“We intend to set out our plans for the future of home buying and selling in due course, including improving the quality of upfront information available to buyers, and driving digitalisation of the residential property sector. We see this work led by NTSELAT as key to helping us drive this agenda.” 

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