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Trading Standards unveils latest material information guidance, but how will it be policed?

Long-awaited guidance on material information in property listings was revealed yesterday but policing of the rules won’t be any different, it can be revealed.

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) published Parts B and C of material information rules yesterday.

It includes a list of what NTSELAT believes can be described as material information under Consumer Protection Regulations and should therefore be in property listings.


This includes information on broadband and mobile coverage as well as parking restrictions and any planning permissions, rights of ways, restrictions and floor or coastal risk data.

Buyers or renters will see new data fields appearing on portals and any left empty will be flagged and will have a link explaining what’s missing. This will help consumers understand the benefits of being fully informed before embarking on moving home.

NTSELAT will be monitoring take up on the portals over the next 12 months and agents can use free text to input information whilst waiting for any dedicated categories.

There is no new legislation as these rules are already covered by Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs), but Estate Agent Today queried how this would be policed.

A Trading Standards spokesperson said: “We will look at non-compliant agents in the same way we look at any non-compliant businesses – and any business which omits material information is subject to a complaint to the redress schemes as well as local trading standards. The approach will remain as it’s always been.

“A key aim of this work is to reduce the risk of prosecution as we are ending years of frustration that agents have felt as they attempt to comply with the legislation already in place.”

The spokesperson added that compliance under the CPRs is carried out by local trading standards as well as by NTSELAT.

A statement said: "Redress schemes also use our guidance on CPRs to help adjudicate on cases.  The TPO also has its own Code of Practice, which looks at material information requirements. A breach of the CPRs is a criminal offence and a 'trigger' offence for the purposes of a warning or prohibition order under the Estate Agents Act 1979. Agents may also be subject to a complaint made by consumers to their redress scheme, or to their local authority trading standards team.

"In terms of the incentive, we think most agents will want to be doing the right thing and using this guidance will help them to ensure they are doing so. Agents work incredibly hard to build consumer trust and satisfaction, which could be put at risk with by a complaint to a redress scheme or by trading standards; the Public Register of Prohibition and Warning Orders can be seen by members of the public."

Trading Standards also provided Estate Agent Today with portal data to show the impact of Part A of the material information rules so far, which say agents must inlcude the price, council tax and tenure terms on listings.

Acording to Rightmove, the tenure field was completed for 94% of new listings uploaded in September 2023, up from just over 60% three years ago.

Meanwhile, use of Zoopla's tenure field has gone from 38% a year ago to 85% more recently.


  • Rob Hailstone

    Via the portals eventually.

  • icon

    The portals will become conduits for data starved of context and barely understood by many.

    These ideas are deeply flawed


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