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UK property buyers to benefit from new purchasing transparency rules

All UK property sales listings will soon be required to include a set of compulsory details, with most in the industry welcoming the increase in openness. 

As from the end of May this year, there will be a rollout of a new set of rules governing property sales advertisements and listings in the UK. The change is being brought about by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team and is their attempt at improving transparency.

According to the documentation, certain “material information” about the property will have to be included for buyers, including the council tax band or rate, house price and tenure information. Property portals, such as Rightmove and Zoopla, have said they will be adding these fields in the coming weeks.

Included in the listing for the property will be flood risk information- something not seen before. The UK has witnessed some serious flooding over the past few years and buyers in the past were mainly not aware their new property was prone to these events.

“These technical changes will prompt all players in the property market to do things a bit differently. Vendors and agents may find that bringing conveyancers on board at the outset helps ensure all information is available for marketing, and issues with things like restrictive covenants or boundaries can be addressed earlier,” said James Munro, senior manager of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, adding:

“For consumers, a better understanding of why certain information such as a property’s tenure is important will enable them to make informed decisions when they embark on a property search.”

“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,” said Theresa Wallace, chair of The Lettings Industry Council. also saying:

“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.”

Once the measures are established, they will be mandatory. If an agent misses a compulsory piece of information, this will be flagged up in the property sales listing.

David Cox, legal and compliance director at Rightmove, says that 80% of listings on the property portal already include the current tenure. This is up from 70% last year.

“We hope that having an industry-agreed official list of material information will better help agents know exactly all the info they need to add when they’re advertising properties,” he adds.

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