Property portal listings for rented and for-sale properties will soon be required to have ‘required’ information within them following the launch of a much-anticipated initiative from National Trading Standards.
Its Estate and Lettings Team (NTSELAT) has launched Phase 1 of a programme that will see some of the basics stipulated on portal listings including price or rent, size of deposit, council tax band or rate and for sales properties, whether it’s leasehold, freehold or commonhold.
Phase I is to go live this month with agents required to be on board by the end of May.
Later phases may be backed by legislation to make it compulsory for property listings to include utilities available within a property, non-standard features that could influence a transaction decision and more prosaic factors too including location, although legislation is only being considered.
The initiative is part of NTSELAT’s attempts to make renting and buying property more transparent and fairer for buyers and tenants, and earlier this month was rolled into the government’s ‘levelling-up’ White Paper announcement.
“These technical changes will prompt all players in the property market to do things a bit differently,” says NTSELAT Senior Manager James Munro (pictured).
“Vendors and agents may find that bringing conveyancers on board 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.”
A further two phases are being developed which will incorporate further material information such as restrictive covenants, flood risk and other specific factors that may impact certain properties.
Sean Hooker (pictured) Head of Redress at The Property Redress Scheme, said: “This is great news for the consumer and will lead to a much more transparent and consistent way of introducing properties to the market.
“It will also give clarity and assurance to agents that they are doing the right thing, will set the ground rules on what is expected and avoid the consequences of not providing a good level of information. Fewer complaints, faster transactions, happier customers, what is not to like?”
Theresa Wallace, (pictured) Chair of The Lettings Industry Council, adds: “The material information project is a crucial piece of work to ensure that consumers looking at buying or renting property can make an informed decision earlier in the process.
“The objective is to provide consumers with more information prior to viewing a property. This will be a big change for the industry who have come together to support this initiative and The Lettings Industry Council felt it was important to be a part of a project that can have a real benefit for consumers.”