This week National Trading Standards released parts B and C of their new guidelines for marketing properties. Under consumer protection legislation, agents are not allowed to omit any material information on property listings but the list of what should be included has never before been defined. The new guidance shared this week changes this.
National Trading Standards delivers national and regional consumer protection enforcement. Its purpose is to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate businesses. The Estate & Letting Agency Team’s (NTSELAT) remit is to protect standards and consumers by enforcing the Estates Agents Act (1979) and the Tenant Fees Act (2019).
The organisation has developed this new guidance in response to agents’ calls for clarity on what constitutes material information following concerns that agents have been left vulnerable to enforcement action.
Sarah Cowley, Partner and Department Manager of Residential Property at Coodes explains the new guidelines and what this means for you.
What are the new guidelines?
Part A of the guidance, which was released in February 2022, largely reflected what was already happening in the sector. The guide included information like council tax rates, price/rent levels and tenure.
Parts B and C which have now been released details much more extensive requirements when marketing a property. Whilst the information you would expect is listed, such as physical characteristics of the property, parking availability and utilities, the list goes on to include elements such as building safety issues. Perhaps most notably, and of particular note for those in Cornwall, is the need to provide information on flooding risk, coastal erosion and proximity to mining.
Under this new approach, agents are required to obtain this information before a property is listed as well as verify that the information is accurate. When the property is listed, the information must then be prominently displayed. Trading Standards suggest that agents may need to engage the services of a solicitor and/ or surveyor.
You can read more about the new guidelines at – Material information for property listings announced – National Trading Standards
What does this mean for you and why is it important?
The move aims to promote transparency, protect consumers in the property market and support agents to obtain the information required. Some think the new guidelines seem onerous, but we believe it is a positive step. It means that that buyers are completely informed before moving forward with the purchase. This could mean that in the future, abortive rates are reduced, because buyers are fully informed from the start of the transaction.
At Coodes, our team will be working with agents and clients to ensure these new guidelines are reflected in the marketing of properties. We’re working hard to provide all our clients with a simple guide to these new rules.
If you aren’t sure what this means for you, and need some personalised advice, contact Sarah Cowley via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01726 874755.