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Trading Standards: ‘Only most serious material information breaches will face action’

Enforcement of material information rules is being done through redress schemes rather than putting a strict deadline on compliance, James Munro, senior manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team has revealed.

Munro outlined Trading Standards’ approach to material information rules in a session during the Propertymark One conference last week.

He said Trading Standards was not trying to stop agents being creative and having an edge to their marketing and advertising, but information should be disclosed if it helps someone make an informed decision on a property.


Munro added that agents will only face action in the “most serious of cases,” highlighting the case of an agent wo was fined in 2019 for not disclosing that a property had unsafe cladding.

One agent asked if there was a deadline for when all material information should be on listings.


Munro highlighted that material information rules have actually been around since 2008, but added: “There is no deadline as this has always been a requirement.

“The vast majority of complaints will be dealt with through the Ombudsman.”

Agents were also shown how Rightmove is adding fields for all parts of material information.

The portal urged agents to get their CRMs to use its API so the data is automatically uploaded.

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    Is material information going to be the next "battleground" between agents? Will they report one another for failing to meet the standards? Will the portals leave agents exposed because they cannot provide enough fields for the amount of data points required to meet material information guidelines? For example, where a home is extended, there needs to be building control and sign off on planning. But is that going far enough? What about if the increase in property size triggers an uplift in council tax banding when the new owner moves in? Agents advises its band C and it turns out to be E? What will it take for agents to truly adopt MI or will most ignore the wide open-goal opportunity they've just been given to use this as a way to increase their fees and sell properties faster?

  • Vilesh Rew

    @Silas, please explain how MI gives agents an opportunity to "increase their fees and sell properties faster". And to be clear, I'm genuinely interested in you thoughts on the subject as I can't see how it means a property might sell faster with MI and would like to understand what I'm missing. Many thanks.


    Thanks Vilesh. I approach it on two fronts to be honest. Firstly, its a lot of data gathering in order to comply with the law, so I would be pitching clients for an up front fee to help gather this data and keep everyone on the right side of the law. Secondly, done comprehensively, you're doing most of the data-gathering exercise that the legals side of the deal does, so it helps fast-track the transaction.

    For example, we tested this with a large agency and had 1,500 transactions go through. Overall, we took a minimum of 3 weeks off the conveyancing timelines, although the average was an 8 week time saving. Fall through rate was practically zero, so you're delivering an impressive USP to your clients (for which you ought to charge accordingly).

    I host regular webinars on this, so I can show you exactly the benefits you can gain from doing MI compliance really well if you're keen to know more.

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    In other words, the actual legislation will be enforced but the "guidance" will not. Most likely, because the guidance is legally unenforceable . NTSELAT are relying on the likes of Rightmove to do the heavy lifting for them.


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