Landlords are likely to be obliged to supply agents with additional details in future, before their properties are listed to let on portals.
The National Trading Standards and Estate and Lettings Team, which presides over consumer-related activity by agents, has launched the first of a three phase project to upgrade the ‘material information’ on rental listings.
The first phase is relatively simple - a property's council tax band or rate (for lettings and sales) and the price and tenure information (for sales) must be included on all property listings by the end of May.
However, later phases will be backed by legislation will make it compulsory for listings to include details of utilities available within a property, non-standard features like restrictive covenants that could influence a transaction decision, plus flooding risk and other elements.
James Munro, senior manager at NTSELAT, says: “This represents an important milestone in the journey to improve material information on property listings. I’m delighted with the progress that has been made with the industry to help define and clarify what constitutes material information and I am grateful to the property portals and other industry leaders who have supported this work.
“I am aware that there are software companies who are already enabling this information to be included in property listings.
“These technical changes will prompt all players in the property market to do things a bit differently. Vendors and agents may find that bringing conveyancers on oard 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 consumers, 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.
“This project will make it easier for estate and letting agents to meet their legal obligations and we look forward to supporting them as they get to grips with a new way of working. We also welcome the involvement of the conveyancers, lawyers and other organisations who are already on board with the process and are putting support in place for agents.”
A full list of the Part A material information is available on the National Trading Standards website here; this also gives an overview of the type of information that will be included in Parts B and C.
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