Have your say: What should be considered as material information on property listings?

A new initiative has been launched by National Trading Standards, with input from property portals and industry bodies, to help establish what basic essential material information should be provided by estate and letting agents upfront on property listings and on portals.

The idea behind providing important information on property listings – the starting point for the vast majority of property searches and transactions – is to enable agents to meet their legal requirements at the start of the consumer journey.

Under existing 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. But current practices around disclosure are not consistent across the industry.

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team is developing guidance for agents to clarify what should be considered as material information.

To inform this guidance, the team is inviting estate and letting agents to share their thoughts about what constitutes material information in a new survey launched today. The deadline for responses is Monday 17 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.

Alongside the survey, the National Trading Standards has published The Case for Change: improving the provision of material information in property sales and lettings. This includes new data from people who have moved in the last three years or are looking to move in the next three years. It shows 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 (55%) said that they would be less likely to buy or rent a property where information was missing on the property listing

James Munro

+ 40% of respondents assume that missing information means something must be wrong with the property.

James Munro, senior manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, commented: “Buying or renting a home is one of the biggest purchasing decisions that a consumer will make in their lifetime. We want to make it easier for agents to provide basic material information to consumers by ensuring more of this information is published on property listings.

“By participating in the survey, agents will help us provide clarity to the industry and ensure consumers can access relevant, essential information when they start their property search.”

“To support agents across the industry and help them meet the legal requirements, the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team is working with property portals and industry groups to help improve how material information is provided on property listings.”

For further information, click here.


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  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    If changes such as these improve trust in agents’ listings it can only have a positive effect. We remain very low down on the list of trusted professions.

    Fall throughs will undoubtedly reduce if the information being provided to online property searchers is more consistent, and it’s incredibly positive to see NSEAT taking on projects to make our property world better without someone, somewhere, being penalised ie landlords, agents or vendors.

  2. Hillofwad71

    Well done   but  it beggars  belief it has taken them so long to ask these important questions of a profession they are meant to police  
    For many  years  industry observers like  Peebee have been providing them with evidence of daily transgressions of Purplebricks and Zoopla posting properties as  “First Listed” when they patently haven’t misleading the consumer .
       Photographs containing the old board logo showing clearly they aren’t .Just recycled old chestnuts but have taken no action.
       It seems gone are the days  when a property was flagged up as”back on the market due to abortive negotiations”

  3. Robert_May

    I know my comments will be regarded as outspoken but all of this is a reaction to a campaign started well over a year ago where the portals simply ignored the request for lease details to be  mandatory on portal listings.

    Once again it  have been the efforts of a few people who care that have forced this issue and  have had solutions live since October.


    This is NTSELAT  catching up with innovation that is already in place.

  4. Will2

    I personally am suspicious of any regulatory body survey and ask myself why they are spending time and money improving information?  Is there another reason behind this?  It should have been the  agent’s trade organisations doing this.  My personal big grip is agents really should set out the principal lease terms such as unexpired term of lease and ground rent details etc as this is of major significance for a buyer.

    I feel this is a bit like trusting Local Councils who later come back with “claw back when a tenant cheats” or “advise tenants to remain until bailifs arrive when they have a court order to give back possession” when all they really want is you to let to one of their applicants that is not attractive to the PRS. With age comes suspicion or perhaps it is the whole anti landlord stuff put out by Government make me ask myself if this is just phishing?

    1. Robert_May

      Don’t be suspicious Will this is a reaction to a question asked of them in October from people who  are building systems that help agents comply with the legislation  they enforce.
      What is material information? What is mandatory what is not? They have not yet answered that question and cancelled the meeting scheduled to discuss it before Christmas
      The trade association haven’t done anything on CPR MI so what you are seeing here is a  knee jerking to service suppliers who are building systems that give their agents professional advantage over firms that don’t know this has been the law  since CPR replaced PMA.
      Once the redress schemes start taking complaints from people on material information, particulary on  leasehold properties, not complying with CPR will become something agents are more cautious about

    2. Woodentop

      I personally am suspicious of any regulatory body survey and ask myself why they are spending time and money improving information?  Is there another reason behind this?


      I couldn’t agree more.


      All the information they were asking for confirmation was ring fenced. Far to vague on some points where I would have said yes and no. Floor plans was one.


      I suspect all the old Cogger’s and Gal’s would be somewhat bewildered at having to be asked, as decades ago just about all the information was being produced on sales particulars and was a requirement. So does this mean that either agents have become lazy, new breed have no idea how to market a property or web portals failed to assist in allowing the information to be displayed?

  5. Shaun Adams

    When we market a property we include a Buyers Information Pack, this includes Title, TA6 TA10, property details, full Epc, Sprift report, faqs on the property, copies of guarantees, docs relating to building works and planning, boiler servicing, fensa, lease pack etc. This speeds up draft papers and answers to enquiries, buyers see all this before they offer. Transparency. Gazeal help compile this. We also ask seller and buyer to commit to a reservation agreement when an offer is accepted.

  6. Not Surprised

    CPRs have been around since 2008 and it’s been a fascinating and slightly subjective journey of discovery to debate what constitutes material information. Situations like, what about murderers and paedophiles that live in OR next to a property? What about building works that were done before the current vendor bought it? I would welcome an industry standard to set out exactly where the line is drawn between an EA’s responsibility and that of a conveyancer, and a specific definition of what the ‘average consumer’ would want to know.

    Many agents go to the trouble of a full PIQ which I think is an overly cautious approach but I certainly see the logic in it, especially if it can be used later down the line.


    1. Woodentop

      Basically they were asking any information they subsequemntly like to class as material infrormation can be included, as we said yes to vaugue multiple options in single questions? Some were frankly impossible outside the remit of agents to be accurate and are dealt with during conveyancing. Agents would become targets for any miniscual mistake in a very complicated industry.
      Very poorly managed survey, that is a wolf in sheeps clothing in a age of litigation.

    2. Hillofwad71

      “I would welcome an industry standard”

      Good Point

      This does really indicate the failings of bodies like the RICS who you would have thought would have sat down with NTS and formulated  “best practice  guidelines .


      They have been around long enough

      1. Shaun Adams

        How many estate agents are part of RICs?

        1. Woodentop

          Not as many as there used to be. The majority of High Street Agents were either NAEA or RIC’s but that got whittled away with the advent of on-liners and those working out of their bedrooms. The professional standards of old have been eroded. RIC’s still have the ‘Blue Bible’ which was accepted as the definitive best practice for estate agents by the OFT and was adhered to. I doubt many of the new breed know anything about it.

          1. Shaun Adams

            I’ve been an agent for 30 yrs not seen a blue bible. I’m an estate agent not a surveyor. Do the NAEA provide a book for surveyors to use?

            1. Hillofwad71

                There are many Chartered Surveyors practicing as Estate Agents. They lobby the Govt as the voice of the property  industry.
                 In fact they still  pitch themselves  to  the public on that basis
              Peter Bolton King “I would recommend that anyone who is buying or selling a house checks that their agent is a regulated member of a professional body, such as RICS, who have met minimum standards of competency and understanding.”  
                          Some lenders still require sale valuations  to be signed off by one.  They have been around for sometime spent many  years  forging guidance notes  so you would have thought  really well placed to sit down with Trading Standards and lay down some guidlines  with  NAEA etc.

              1. Shaun Adams

                I don’t think Surveyors represent estate agents, I only know one agent in hundreds who is a surveyor.

                1. Woodentop

                  They were very common days gone by. Many an agent had a surveyor in-house as part of the industry (couldn’t do their own properties). Still a few around who are estate agents. The ‘Blue Bible’ is available to RICS members and non-members at a higher price. Covered everything and was used by Trading Standards like the ‘Highway Code’ is in driving standards in court proceedings. NAEA have their own training materials/qualifications. Worth getting as it covers everything and many todays new breed may be ashamed that they no nothing!

  7. Richard Copus

    There are still agents out there who won’t state whether a property is leasehold or freehold, and the first thing anyone wants to know before they view a flat is how long the lease is, how many years are left on it, what the ground rent is and what the maintenance charges are.  Hardly rocket science, just many agents can’t be bothered to check it out.

    1. Shaun Adams

      Lazy agents, take photos, add description then make live

      99% of UK agents take the easy/lazy route

    2. Woodentop

      Richard see my comment above regarding the Blue Bible and why we are where we are. Far to many people came into the industry over the last decade thinking it was easy money and poor knowledge/standards.

  8. A W

    There are two very different questions being asked here:

    – What information is necessary for Estate Agency listings.

    – What information is necessary for Letting Agency listings.

    Both require very different information at the outset however only Estate Agency information is really being discussed (because to be honest it actually matters whereas lettings info can be found with simple google searches). It will be welcome to see standardization across the board, however good agents already provide the relevant information so there wont be any change in their working practices.

    1. Woodentop

      Actually Lettings has more detail (if done correctly) than sales.


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