Property listings, just like the homes they advertise, come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer a detailed insight into the property, whilst others can leave you with many unanswered questions. But if you are managing your apartment yourself, what you may not be aware of is that there is new compulsory information which must now be stated on property listings. You may already supply this data, or this could come as a shock, but so you are prepared let’s explain this in some detail.
It's a little inconsistent
You only have to look around at current rental listings to know that the information supplied is a little inconsistent. There is current legislation under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which estates that estate and letting agents are legally obliged to not omit ‘material information’ on property listings from consumers. Material information provides tenants and homebuyers with the details they need about the property to make an informed decision, such as rental price, number of bedrooms, and even broadband.
There has, therefore, been a need to make things consistent to benefit consumers. In 2021 The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) launched a survey asking agents what they thought should be included in property listings as ‘material information’. From those estate and letting agents that responded, 91% agreed that, to help improve clarity for tenants and homebuyers, there should be a ‘defined list of basic material information’.
Who has been involved?
NTSELAT has been working in partnership with industry leaders, such as The Lettings Industry Council, The Property Ombudsman, The Property Redress Scheme, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, The UK Association of Letting Agents, and the major property portals including Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket and PropertyPal.
The three phases
The new rules are being introduced in three phases by NTSELAT, and Part A must be included on all property listings by the end of May.
Part A requires you to include information for tenants and homebuyers that affects what are classed as ‘unavoidable costs’ they will need to pay once they occupy a property. This includes the rental costs, including deposits, and the council tax band. There will be new fields placed on the property portals making it compulsory to supply this information at the time of marketing.
Parts B & C will follow in due course
Part B requires you to include information ‘established for all properties’ that could affect a tenant’s decision whether to look further or go ahead with renting the property, such as utilities.
Part C requires you to supply additional information that isn’t applicable for all properties, such as restrictive covenants or any potential flood risks.
Theresa Wallace, Chair of The Lettings Industry Council, said:
“The material information project is a crucial piece of work to ensure that consumers looking at buying or renting property can make an informed decision earlier in the process. The objective is to provide consumers with more information prior to viewing a property. This will be a big change for the industry who have come together to support this initiative and The Lettings Industry Council felt it was important to be a part of a project that can have a real benefit for consumers.”
At The Apartment Company, we are very happy to see these new rules being brought in to give clarity and consistency with property listings. This can only improve tenants’ understanding of the properties they are viewing in the Bath rental market and prevent unexpected surprises. If you are unsure of your responsibilities as a landlord, then please contact Nicola and our lettings team on 01225 303870.