SBK welcomes new material information guidance

Property sellers and renters are to benefit from new guidance regarding material information in property listings.

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) published Parts B and C of material information rules on November 29.

It is the culmination of a programme of work led by NTSELAT alongside industry leaders and the UK’s major property portals including Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket and Property Pal.

The guidance was developed in response to agents’ calls for clarity on what constitutes material information as until now there hasn’t been a defined list of what is required.

Part B is information that should be covered for all properties – such as type of property, building materials used, number of rooms and information about utilities and parking. 

Part C is information that only needs to be established if the property is affected by the issue – such as flood risk or restrictive covenants. 

Part A was announced last year and includes council tax band or rate, property price or rent and tenure information (for sales).

Buyers or renters will see new data fields on the various property portals. Any left empty will be flagged and will have a link explaining what’s missing.

Agents such as Sheldon Bosley Knight are already obliged under the Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs) not to leave out any material information on property listings. 

NTSELAT says the aim of this new guidance is to help agents meet their obligations and reduce the risk of being vulnerable to enforcement action. 

By engaging conveyancers to help them prepare the relevant details at the start of the sales or letting process agents will reap the benefits, with shorter transaction times and fewer fall-throughs that result from important information coming to light.

Sheldon Bosley Knight’s director of residential sales and marketing, James Morton, said: “We support this new guidance as it helps make the industry as a whole more professional and transparent. This can only be a good thing. 

“It should give comfort to those looking to sell, buy or rent, the agent they are dealing with is operating within the law and it should also raise industry standards which should be welcomed. 

“It will also ensure everyone involved with the transaction will have all the information to make an informed decision thus hopefully reducing the number of delays and possible surprises during the sales process.”