Landlords have been warned that they will have to work much harder with their letting agent from now onwards to ensure property adverts for their homes to rent include all the ‘material information’.
After nearly three years of consultations with the property sector, Trading Standards has revealed the full list of information that adverts should include, and guidance on how to ensure it is lawful.
The initiative is part of efforts to ensure tenants seeking properties to rent understand the full picture before proceeding, rules that have been law since 2008 under the Consumer Protection Regulation from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs).
This new list includes property basics such as number of bedrooms and location but also details of a property’s utilities or lack of them, parking, accessibility facilities, flood risk and many other features currently missing from most ads for rented homes.
Although the new material information is aimed at the UK’s 19,000 sales and letting agents, Trading Standards has warned that landlords need to be aware of the new guidance as well.
It says: “If you have previously sold or rented out a property, it’s likely that your agent asked you to complete a questionnaire.
“Agents are now requiring some of this information before the property is listed and you will be asked to complete a property information questionnaire (PIQ).
“You have an important role to play to give a buyer or tenant enough information to make the right decision on whether to view the property or to proceed with buying or renting it."
Trading Standards says the big portals including Rightmove, Zoopla and OTM will be monitored to ensure their property adverts comply with the new CPRs guidance, which if not followed can attract fines of up to £10,000.
James Munro (pictured), Senior Manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, says: “Too many consumers suffer emotionally and financially because important information crops up late in the process and the transaction falls through.
“That’s why I’m delighted to publish this guidance today, as the culmination of nearly three years’ work in collaboration with our partners to define and clarify what constitutes material information.”
Sean Hooker (pictured), Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme, adds: “This has been a phenomenal joint effort by everyone across the property sector.
“The obligations for transparency, and upfront information are far from new, but here for the first time is a comprehensive guide to what a property professional is expected and needs to provide to the consumer.
“It will help clarify the ‘what ifs’, the ‘how tos’ and ‘where to finds’, when compiling property listings but also provide a blueprint for material information requirements throughout the entire marketing and transacting of property sales and lettings