Rightmove urges agents to make information available on leasehold listings

Rightmove has pledged to encourage estate agents to divulge more property information on listings following complaints from leasehold campaigners about a lack of detail on tenure.

Activists from the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) wrote to the portal to complain that users are unable to search for properties by tenure such as freehold, commonhold or leasehold, and claimed the lack of this information on listings does not comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Under CPR, agents have a duty to divulge anything that might affect a consumer’s transactional decision – which could be simply deciding whether to ask the agent for more information or to request a viewing.

Leaseholds have been in the spotlight because of high service charges and ground rents which can mount up over the years and blight future sales. There are also concerns over restrictions on what can be done with leasehold properties.

The sale of leaseholds, particularly houses, has been called a scandal and the Government has promised to act.

Katie Kendrick, founder of the NLC, said: “Rightmove’s advertising description of the property for sale can affect consumers’ transactional decisions and I believe there is not enough information about tenure of each of your properties.”

She told Rightmove: “I urge you to ensure that property tenure is a basic and mandatory requirement of any property advertisement on your website.”

Rightmove said in a response to the complaint that all agents have the ability to add tenure information but it was looking at ways more can be encouraged to actually do so.

A statement from the portal to EYE said: “There is a field where all agents can add the details of the tenure of a property in the description of their Rightmove listings and we encourage all of our estate agency customers to do this in line with the guidance from industry bodies.

“We’ve also been working with The Leasehold Advisory Service and have added more information on Rightmove about the difference between buying a leasehold and freehold property to help prospective buyers.”

None of the three main portals lets users search for property by freehold, leasehold or commonhold.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Will2

    Lease information in particular unexpired term and ground rents are critical information to the value and disclosure should be mandatory when advertising a property for sale.

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  2. David Clark

    If you use a compliance pack from ETSOS as we do (leasehold & freehold) and attach to the online sales particulars PDF there is full information available including a copy of the lease. The readership needs analysis but I suspect it’s minimal and I also suspect that a large proportion of potential buyers look at price, pictures and floorplan then book a viewing!

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  3. Ed Mead

    At a time when agents are being hit with increasingly onerous regulation it seems extraordinary to me that this isn’t a basic lawful requirement – just saying “Leasehold” is simply not good enough. Historically agents have put as little on details as possible in order to encourage potential buyers to pick up the phone. A brief glance at how auctions work – i.e. fully stocked datarooms – must show the way forward and I’m well aware that some, like the Essential Information Group, are working with suppliers to provide exactly that. About time.

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  4. PeeBee

    Above, Rightmove state they have “… added more information on Rightmove about the difference between buying a leasehold and freehold property to help prospective buyers.”

    All I’ll say is it’s bl00dy well hidden on the site – I can’t find a single line of “information”.

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    1. PeeBee

      Okay… okay – I eventually used the search feature on the “Property Advice” section for “Leasehold”…
       
      …and there are ZERO pieces of advice listed.  Not.  One.  Funny, that.  “Seek and ye shall find” clearly isn’t a Rightmove mantra – at least not one they expect to accommodate easily. 
       
      So – to the “Blog” section.  Again – enter “Leasehold into Search and see what comes up…  
       
      …no less than thirteen results.  The most recent posted in April last year – so they are a bit late it seems in announcing the above-mentioned collaboration with the LAS.
       
      Easy for those that want to know to find?  Not on your chuffin’ Nelly!

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      1. Richard Copus

        It IS a legal requirement, Ed.  Period of lease, term unexpired, ground rent and maintenance are mandatory requirements under the TPOS Code of Conduct and good agents have been doing this for years.  It’s just too much hassle for some to get this info together before instant marketing.  The client can’t find the copy of his lease (which the agent has a requirement to peruse),and can’t remember all its terms, so let’s not bother.

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        1. PeeBee

          “The client can’t find the copy of his lease…”

          In the vast majority of cases that Agents deal with, the Lease document will be with the Lender, Mr Copus.  Quite often vendors will not instruct a solicitor/conveyancer until a sale is agreed – and only then will the Lease be applied for.

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          1. Richard Copus

            Mr Pee-Pee, you are quite right that the lender will have the lease document, but the borrower is always given a copy.  The fact is that this information has to be provided and it’s good to see Rightmove leading the way here.

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            1. PeeBee

              “…the lender will have the lease document, but the borrower is always given a copy.”
               
              No, Sir – they are not “always given a copy”.

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              1. Richard Copus

                If the agent does not see a copy he should not be dealing with the property.  It’s as simple as that.  And if the agent says “sorry, I couldn’t see a lease so how was I to know its contents?” when prosecuted, he is in a similar position in law as having committed a driving offence (sorry your worship, I didn’t know I had a bald tyre because I hadn’t realised it”).

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  5. kingsroad

    The Law Commission to publish its report on Thursday into leasehold reform in order to promote transparency & fairness and a better deal for leaseholders as consumers.

     

    Then this will be followed by the results of the Competitions & Marketing Authority investigation into mis-selling of leasehold properties.

     

    So big changes afoot perhaps? Fines for historical mis-selling with CPR breaches in respect of failing to provide material information? Claims for compensation? Talk of the CMA being able to fine without going to court.

     

    Maybe even the requirement to provide consumers with the cost of purchasing the freehold for leasehold houses at least? The NLC certainly making this point and the Government asking the Law Commission to look into it.

     

    A requirement to provide copies of leases with sales literature on the cards perhaps? Like Mr. Mead states. Auctioneers already providing copies of leases. There’s no reason why Agents couldn’t have provided the same level of transparency.

     

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  6. Anonymous Coward

    Except in fairly unusual circumstances it is almost always possible to download the lease from the Land Registry website:

    https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry

    Cost per lease – £3

    Get the owner to do it for you…   Costs you nothing and takes less than 10 minutes.

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  7. TwitterSalisPropNews

    It is a scandal that a sale can get as far as a conveyancer before the buyer knows it is even leasehold or what leasehold means or even what the basic terms of the lease are (e.g ground rent, sevrice charge and duration).

    1.Nothing required by the Government

    2. Nothing on property portals

    3. Nothing on the estate agent listings

    4. No explanation by the mortgage company

    5. No explanation by the surveyor (actually some do which is clever/good/brownie points)

    6. Then the conveyancer – months later – takes over the last stage.

    It is an instant fix for all the above 5 – would take then a few hours to go live with information each property/time.

    It would then back up what the conveyancer sends to a buyer – i.e the lease, the leasehold information form, management information, and reference to the need to read the tenant obligations in the lease.All conveyancers do that – they can’t avoid it, as that is just passing over the information they received. But steps taken by 1-5 above would also talk about differences between freehold and leasehold, and how the lease can be forefited and even extended (and freehold bought).

    #JustGetItDone

     

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