Landlords will have to include many more specific points about their properties when they list them in future - whether directly or via letting agents.
An initiative from the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team is attempting to give consumers the maximum information about properties before viewings and making rental or purchase offers.
The measures will complement existing Consumer Protection Regulation from Unfair Trading Regulations introduced back in 2008.
This new list includes property basics such as number of bedrooms and location but also details of a property’s utilities or lack of them, parking, accessibility facilities, flood risk and many other features currently missing from most ads for rented homes.
So-called Part A of this ‘material information’ was released by Trading Standards last year, and requires landlords and letting agents to include council tax band or rate, property price or rent and tenure information.
Now Parts B and C have been introduced.
Part B is information that should be covered for all properties – such as the type of property, the building materials used, the 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.
A statement from NTSELAT says: “Buyers or renters will see new data fields appearing on portals and any left empty will be flagged and will have a link explaining what’s missing. This will help consumers understand the benefits of being fully informed before embarking on moving home.”
James Munro of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team adds: “For years, property agents have grappled with what information they should be providing and how, and when it should be disclosed. Their call for help was clear. And too many consumers suffer emotionally and financially because important information crops up late in the process and the transaction falls through.
“That’s why I’m delighted to publish this guidance today, as the culmination of nearly three years’ work in collaboration with our partners to define and clarify what constitutes material information and to ensure that agents can access that information promptly and with the support they need.
“This industry-wide effort will create consistency and raise standards across the board, and I would like to thank all those who were involved, in particular the property portals, industry leaders and agents themselves who have made such an important contribution.
“With all sections of the industry ready to support agents I am confident the process of change will be smooth and that the benefits – faster transactions, fewer complaints and fall-throughs and ultimately, greater consumer trust – will be quickly felt.”
List of material information for Parts B and C
(NB: The examples given are not an exhaustive list)
Part B – information that should be established for all properties:
- Physical characteristics of the property:
- Property type – e.g. house, flat, room to let, park home etc.
- Property construction – key materials used in the main structure and other areas
- Number and types of room – including room measurements
- Utilities – how they are supplied:
- Electricity supply
- Water supply
- Broadband – including type and an indication of speed
- Mobile signal/coverage – including any known issues or restrictions
Part C – information that may or may not need to be established depending on whether the property is affected by the issue:
- Building safety – e,g, unsafe cladding, asbestos, risk of collapse
- Restrictions – e.g. conservation area, listed building status, tree preservation order
- Rights and easements – e.g. public rights of way, shared drives
- Flood risk
- Coastal erosion risk
- Planning permission – for the property itself and its immediate locality
- Accessibility/adaptations – e.g. step free access, wet room, essential living accommodation on entrance level
- Coalfield or mining area
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