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Material information rules set to cost sellers ‘hundreds of pounds’ - warning

Vendors could end up spending hundreds of pounds more when selling their home due to Trading Standards material information rules guidance, a conveyancing solicitor has warned.

The latest National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) guidance released in November means homeowners will have to list a whole range of new ‘material information’ concerning their home including any restrictive covenants, if there is a tree preservation order and if there are any rights of way.

Additionally, homeowners will have to carry out environmental and local land charges searches so that details of flood risk, coastal erosion, coalfield mining and relevant planning permissions can be added to the listing.


The guidance is means buyers, however, who will now be able to access all the information upfront before committing to a purchase.

Simon Nosworthy, head of residential conveyancing at Osbornes Law, said: “Effectively sellers will have to engage with a conveyancing solicitor before they list their property and not when they have received an offer. This means that if a homeowner lists their property and fails to sell it, they will have already spent a decent amount of money on fees and searches. Overall this could mean homeowners spending hundreds of pounds more.”

While the guidance was announced in November, Nosworthy said it appears that the NTSELAT is allowing time for estate agents to be trained before being enforced. 

Previously, Trading Standards has said portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla and  OnTheMarket have said they police the rules by stopping listings going live without the required information.

Nosworthy said: “Very few consumers know about this, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be made to gather this information on their home in the coming months.

“However, it still remains to be seen what the housing platforms like Rightmove do about the guidance and if they make estate agents list this information.

“While it may be seen as an arduous hurdle for those selling a home, it is good news for buyers and should ensure the whole process is smoother. It also has the added benefit of meaning there will be no nasty shocks down the line for buyers.”

Responding to the comments, James Munro, senior manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, said: “Of all the decisions we take in our lives, deciding where we live is undeniably one of the most important. It can have a profound impact on our health, happiness and wellbeing – and buying or renting a home is one of the biggest purchasing decisions we will ever make. That’s why it’s important to work towards a future where more material information about a property is available earlier in the buying, selling and renting process.

“The recent guidance will prompt all players in the property market to do things a bit differently, and sellers may find that bringing conveyancers on board at the outset helps ensure all information is available for marketing, and issues with things like restrictive covenants or boundaries can be addressed earlier. For buyers, 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.

“Efforts to improve the provision of material information have been worked on for some time and change has been long overdue. The progress that’s been made in recent months has been widely welcomed and I’ve been encouraged by the overwhelming positive response the new guidance has received.”

  • Rob Hailstone

    I can't work out if this MI article is for or against MI, because most sellers will be buyers.

  • Stuart Forsdike PCS Legal

    it should also help sellers as the process to sell should be quicker. Instructing a lawyer at the point the property is placed on the market can only be a good thing


  • icon

    Creating barriers for entry when listing a property is always a bad idea. This information is not going to achieve anything except reduce supply, slow down bringing a property to market and increase time to sell. If a buyer is going to refuse to view something because of a tree protection order or whatever, they were a waste of your time anyway.

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    The mandate for this was 2008, so it has taken 16 years for a tiny trading standards operation to say they are now going to police it. Given there are tens of thousands of properties listed on the portals today which do not comply, who is managing the step change which began at the end of November 2023? In the age of data, as a buyer I for one would love to see much more information, rather than on portals seeing a 'ask the agent' sticker where the information that is now required ... is nowhere to be seen.


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