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New material information guidance for sales and letting agents was published on Thursday 30 November. The new guidance covers all three phases of the programme and is intended to help agents meet their existing legal requirements under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (known as the CPRs).
Representing the culmination of a programme of work led by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) alongside industry leaders including the Property Redress Scheme, the guidance has been developed in response to agents’ calls for clarity on what constitutes material information.
In addition to the guidance on its dedicated webpage, NTSELAT has published short guides for agents, sellers and landlords, and buyers and tenants. It will also be delivering a series of webinars in partnership with steering group members.
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.
“With all sections of the industry ready to support agents I am confident the process of change will be smooth and that the benefits – faster transactions, fewer complaints and fall-throughs and ultimately, greater consumer trust – will be quickly felt.”
Sean Hooker, Head of Redress, Property Redress Scheme, said:
“This has been a phenomenal joint effort by everyone across the property sector. The obligations for transparency, and upfront information are far from new, but here for the first time is a comprehensive guide to what a property professional is expected and needs to provide to the consumer. It will help clarify the what ifs, the how tos and where to finds, when compiling property listings but also provide a blueprint for material information requirements throughout the entire marketing and transacting of property sales and lettings.
“As a major provider of redress, we also welcome the clarity and consistency, this will provide for when resolving complaints and will work with agents to raise standards and overcome the short-term challenges they face as they come up to speed.”
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Property Redress Scheme is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015