National Trading Standards is to launch guidance that will ensure that portal listings include the minimum ‘material information’ when marketing properties on portals to tenants, and has launched a consultation ahead of the guidance being finalised.

As well as the basics, this also covers several contentious areas including the status of cladding on a building, under what conditions pets are allowed in a property and whether a landlords is prepared to accept tenants in receipt of benefits.

But overall NTS wants to help agents to meet their minimum legal requirements at the beginning of tenants’ and buyers’ property searches, the vast majority of whom use portals to kick off their house hunting.

Under current legislation, as set out in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, estate agents and letting agents have a legal obligation not to omit material information from consumers on property listings.

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But current practices around disclosure are not consistent across the industry, says NTS chief James Munro (pictured, above).

He heads up its specialist National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team which is developing guidance for agents to clarify what should be in portal listings.

He is encouraging estate and letting agents to share their thoughts about what constitutes material information in a new survey launched today but due to close on 17th May.

The survey covers a range of questions for agents about what should be defined as material information, including information on building safety, utilities and property tenure.

Research among home buyers and tenants reveals that 90% would prefer portal listings to include details property information, and that approximately half would be suspicious of, or less likely to buy or rent a property if key information is missing.

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“It is essential for property agents to understand their obligations in terms of disclosure so this is why this guidance is so vital,” says Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the PRS (pictured).

“The shop window for most agents are now the portals so they are the perfect place for consumer to gather the facts they need to help them make their decision about what is such an important matter – the roof over their head.

“The survey is your chance to help shape what will need to be part of this information pack available at the fingertips of your customers.”

Read more about property portals.

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