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Full material Information Guidance B & C published by NTSELAT all you need to know
• Posted in News Articles Section of NTSELAT 30th November 2023.
- New guidance for sales and letting agents covers all three phases of programme
- Aim is to help agents to meet their existing legal requirements under the CPRs
- Material information guides also available to support landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers
Use this LINK to access the full new guidelines on Material Information on Property Listings (SALES).
Use this LINK to access the full new guidelines on Material Information on Property Listings (LETTINGS).
Representing the culmination of a programme of work led by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) alongside industry leaders and the UK’s major property portals including Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket and Property Pal**, the guidance has been developed in response to agents’ calls for clarity on what constitutes material information.
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. Part A was announced last year and includes council tax band or rate, property price or rent and tenure information (for sales).
Agents are already obliged under the Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs) not to omit any material information on property listings. Although material information is any information that is important in helping an average consumer make a decision about a property, until now there hasn’t been a defined list of the basic information required. This has left agents vulnerable to enforcement action, and the aim of this guidance is to help them meet their obligations and reduce this risk. 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.
Sellers will be advised to bring a conveyancer on board at an early stage to help ensure validated information is available to the agent for marketing and that issues like restrictive covenants or boundaries are addressed at an early stage. 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.
NTSELAT will be monitoring take up on the portals over the next 12 months and agents can use free text to input information whilst waiting for any dedicated categories. As ever, under the CPRs any information can be deemed material if it impacts a consumer’s transactional decision so agents should continue to be mindful of this.
In addition to the guidance on its dedicated webpage, NTSELAT has published short guides for agents, sellers and landlords, and buyers and tenants. It will also be delivering a series of webinars in partnership with steering group members.
Evidence has consistently shown overwhelming support amongst agents for the mandatory disclosure of material information, with a survey of agents in 2021 finding that 91% agreed that a defined list of basic material information would help improve clarity for the industry.***
Part B – information that should be established for all properties:
1. Physical characteristics of the property:
o Property type – e.g. house, flat, room to let, park home etc.
o Property construction – key materials used in the main structure and other areas
2. Number and types of room – including room measurements
3. Utilities – how they are supplied:
o Electricity supply
o Water supply
o Broadband – including type and an indication of speed
o 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
Steering group **Organisations that have helped shape improvements to the disclosure of material information in property transactions are: Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), Nationwide – Property Risk, OnTheMarket, Propertymark, PropertyPal, Rightmove, The Coal Authority, The Conveyancing Association, HM Land Registry, The Law Society, The Property Institute, The Property Ombudsman, The Property Redress Scheme, The UK Association of Letting Agents and Zoopla. Sources: ***335 respondents from the property industry completed the survey, carried out in April and May 2021.
Background to the material information programme The initiative to improve the disclosure of material information launched in April 2021, when National Trading Standards published The Case for Change: improving the provision of material information in property sales and lettings. This included data (survey carried out by Censuswide in 2021) from 1002 people who had moved in the previous three years or were looking to move in the next three years and showed 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 (54%) said that they would be less likely to buy or rent a property where information was missing on the property listing
– 41% of respondents assume that missing information means something must be wrong with the property.
The Three stages of material information disclosure
Part A – announced early 2022 Information that, regardless of outcome, is always considered material for all properties regardless of location. This information generally involves unavoidable costs that will be incurred by the occupier regardless of the use of the property. Includes council tax band or rate and the property price and tenure information (for sales)
Part B – announced today 30th November 2023. Information that should be established for all properties. It applies mainly to utilities (and similar), where non-standard features would affect someone’s decision to look any further at that property.
Part C – announced today 30th November 2023. Additional material information that may or may not need to be established, depending on whether the property is affected or impacted by the information. Applies to properties affected by the issue itself because of, for example, the location of the property.
About National Trading Standards National Trading Standards delivers national and regional consumer protection enforcement. Its Board is made up of senior and experienced heads of local government trading standards from around England and Wales with an independent Chair.
Its purpose is to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate businesses by tackling serious national and regional consumer protection issues. Agreements are in place with regional Trading Standards groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland to reflect the Estate & Letting Agency team’s remit which extends to the whole of the UK.’
‘The Room Xchange’ and ‘Compare & Connect’ partner to help Australian house-sharers save cash on household costs
Press Release Melbourne, Australia – Thursday, 30 November 2023 – In response to ongoing cost of living pressures, award-winning proptech platform The Room Xchange is partnering with innovative comparison service ‘Compare & Connect,’ to deliver a positive and practical solution for Australian house-sharers to save time, money and hassle when choosing suppliers for household services.
The Room Xchange will integrate a seamless white-label version of the technology-led comparison and connection platform so that its homeowners and renters can save money on all major consumer needs including household electricity, gas, internet and insurance, as well as additional services like removalists.
“Our latest collaboration ensures that homeowners and renters associated with The Room Xchange can now effortlessly compare their current household bills against other providers in Australia,” said Ludwina Dautovic, CEO and Founder of The Room Xchange. “The service is independent, free and online, and backed by an expert team,” she continued.
This latest partnership announcement by The Room Xchange comes at a time when many Australians are experiencing financial stress due to ongoing cost of living increases and housing affordability challenges, including higher mortgage costs and utility bills.
“In a sign that The Room Xchange is fast becoming Australia’s first choice for house-sharing, we’re thrilled that Compare & Connect is partnering with us to help us take the pain out of switching to a better deal. Given how many Aussies are doing it tough right now, for some people, this could literally help to ‘keep the lights on’,” Ms Dautovic said.
Compare & Connect is committed to helping Australian consumers make informed choices on a broad range of products, especially for essential services like utilities. Once potential savings are identified, the transition to a new provider is swift and hassle-free.
Penni Nicholls, Chief Growth Officer at Compare & Connect, welcomed the partnership, saying: “Our goal has always been to alleviate the financial pressures on Australian homeowners and renters. With the high cost of living affecting millions, assisting them at the very core – their homes – is precisely why we extend our services. There’s a great alignment here and we’re really looking forward to working with The Room Xchange.”
A dedicated landing page with the new service is live and ready for comparisons – use this LINK
The Room Xchange is Australia’s pioneering verified house-sharing platform. With an estimated 13.5 million unused spare bedrooms across 10 million homes in Australia, The Room Xchange aims to tap into this resource. Their objective is to alleviate the financial strain on homeowners while providing renters with affordable room options. It’s a mutual benefit that’s revolutionising the way Australians live.
Compare & Connect launched in 2014, and its Founder & CEO is Neil Saligrama, and it offers technology-driven utility comparison and connection services. The platform also powers many leading Australian comparison brands and real estate agencies who refer their customers to connect essential services. It services and supports all platform customers from its Melbourne CBD offices where its 150 plus employees are located.
Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.