'Material Information' Rules Laid Out For Property Listings on British Portals

December 1, 2023
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The so-called 'material information' rules applying to listings on property portals in the UK have been revealed this week by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT).

Essentially rules around the minimum amount of information that must accompany any listing on a portal site in the country, the material information guidance has been handed down after extensive consultation with industry stakeholders including leading portals Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket and PropertyPal.

The rules are comprised of three parts each specifying data fields that listings must include. Part A was released last year and covers council tax information, the property's price or rent and tenure information for sales listings.

This week parts B and C were published and cover information around the physical characteristics of each property and, where applicable, information around safety, insurance and planning concerns.

In full the material information fields are:

  • Asking price / rent
  • Deposits (rent), tenure (sale) and any unavoidable costs associated with the listing
  • Council tax information
  • Physical characteristics of the property (property type, materials used in construction/construction, type and number of rooms)
  • Utilities information (electricity supply, water supply, sewerage, heating, broadband and mobile, phone signal/coverage)
  • Parking availability
  • Building safety issues (where applicable)
  • Restrictions and rights (where applicable)
  • Flooding or coastal erosion (where applicable)
  • Planning permission considerations (where applicable)
  • Mining issues (where applicable)

Portals will display the new fields and if any are missing information, users will see a link to an explanation.

Agents will be provided with guidance from NTSELAT on how to comply and Rightmove is offering a training session on the issue. The trading standards body will be monitoring portals over the next 12 months and says that agents can use free text as a placeholder while awaiting data from third parties to fill in certain fields.

James Munro, senior manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, said:

“For years, property agents have grappled with what information they should be providing and how, and when it should be disclosed. Their call for help was clear. And 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 and to ensure that agents can access that information promptly and with the support they need.

This industry-wide effort will create consistency and raise standards across the board, and I would like to thank all those who were involved, in particular the property portals, industry leaders and agents themselves who have made such an important contribution."

There is hope within the industry that the inclusion of certain critical fields of information on property listings will reduce the number of fall-throughs in the UK market.

December 1, 2023
Since March 2020 Edmund's job has been to read about, write about, collect data on, analyse and generally know about real estate marketplaces and the companies that run them. Before that he worked at the aggregator Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect) for five years.

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