National Trading Standards has launched a new initiative with input from property portals and industry bodies to make it as easy as possible for estate and lettings agents to provide basic essential material information.
The new initiative launched on 20 April and National Trading Standards claims it should help agents to meet their legal requirements from the beginning of the customer journey.
Under current legislation, as set out in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, estate agents and letting agents have a legal obligation not to omit material information from consumers on property listings. But current practices around disclosure are not consistent across the industry.
The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) is developing guidance for agents to clarify what should be considered as material information. To this end, the team has launched a new survey and is encouraging agents to participate and share their thoughts on what constitutes as material information. The deadline for responses is Monday 17 May.
The survey covers a range of questions for agents about what should be defined as ‘material information’, including information on building safety, utilities and property tenure.
In addition to the survey – which is open for four weeks – NTSELAT has published The Case for Change: improving the provision of material information for property sales and lettings. This document highlights why the industry should go further to provide accurate and essential information to help consumers make the decision to buy or rent.
The report includes new data from people who have moved in the last three years or are looking to move in the next three years. It shows that:
- 90% of respondents who use property portals would prefer to find detailed or key information about a property when they’re searching for a property on a portal.
- 87% of respondents agree that property portals should include all key information about a home in their property listing.
- More than half of respondents (55%) said that they would be less likely to buy or rent a property where information was missing on the property listing.
- 40% of respondents assume that missing information means something must be wrong with the property.
James Munro, Senior Manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, said:
“Buying or renting a home is one of the biggest purchasing decisions that a consumer will make in their lifetime. We want to make it easier for agents to provide basic material information to consumers by ensuring more of this information is published on property listings. By participating in the survey, agents will help us provide clarity to the industry and ensure consumers can access relevant, essential information when they start their property search.
To support agents across the industry and help them meet the legal requirements, the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team is working with property portals and industry groups to help improve how material information is provided on property listings.”
This work is being developed in conjunction with OnTheMarket, Propertymark (NAEA/ARLA), PropertyPal, Rightmove, The Lettings Industry Council, The Property Ombudsman, The Property Redress Scheme, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, The UK Association of Letting Agents, and Zoopla.