New guidance for material information was released in November 2023, what will this mean for agents and consumers?

New guidance from the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) has been released on “material information” in property listings. A culmination of three years’ work, the new rules aim to bring clarity and consistency to how property is marketed. The ultimate aim is to ensure that all information which would be material to a buyer, and may impact their decision to purchase a property, is available much earlier as part of the property listing.

This guidance is broken down into three parts:

Material information part A

Part A of this guidance was released in 2022; the guidance made it essential that property listings contained information on council tax, sale or rental price, property tenure (sales), and deposit payable (lettings). NTSELAT have now published parts B & C of the new rules. Estate agents already had an obligation to provide material information in property listings under existing legislation, specifically the Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs), however the previous regulations were not definitive in terms of what constituted material information.

Material information Part B

Part B of the material information guidance lists information that should be made available for all properties at the time of going on the market. This information includes the physical characteristics of the property, its type, construction, how many rooms it has, what utilities it has, and parking restrictions.

Material information part C

Material information Part C highlights information that needs to be provided if there is an issue that may affect the property. This can include any safety concerns, such as asbestos or cladding issues, whether the property is in a conservation area, whether it is at risk of flooding or is affected by any easements, for example rights of way, or restrictive covenants.

How will the new material information guidance benefit agents and homebuyers?

This new guidance will assist agents in understanding how to meet their obligations when providing material information in property listings. Estate agents may also work more closely with conveyancers earlier in the transaction, with conveyancers potentially being instructed by vendors at listing stage, instead of waiting until a buyer has been found. Having all relevant information displayed at the point of listing could help in the sale and purchase of properties in a couple of ways:

  • It reduces the likelihood of a sale falling through further down the line as information has been provided from the outset, rather than coming to light later.
  • It could reduce the time it takes for a sale to complete if the conveyancing process has been completed earlier.

Previously there has not been a definitive list of information that has needed to be included within property listings to this level, which could be problematic for agents, potentially leaving them open to mistakenly omitting information and leaving them vulnerable to enforcement action.

Having this information from the outset will also benefit homebuyers as they will be able to make fully informed decisions regarding their property purchase before they make an offer.

These new fields will start to be seen on property portals and the adoption of this new information will be monitored by NTSELAT over the next year.

These changes should be seen as positive by both agents and consumers, helping to bring clarity to the sale and purchase of property as well as reducing fall-throughs, giving buyers and sellers more peace of mind in the process.

To find out more you can view the official material information documents here

If you are thinking of moving and would like to discuss this or other conveyancing matters with an expert then do not hesitate to get in touch.

Alternatively, you can get your free conveyancing quote here.

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