The government and Trading Standards have announced a compulsory new requirement which must appear on all property listings. In three parts, this new strategy is to ensure that potential purchasers or renters have the correct and full information regarding a property before entering into a purchase or rental contract.
The first phase has already started. Online property portals need to list the property’s council tax band for both sales and lettings. For sales the property price and tenue information (freehold, leasehold, or leasehold with a share of the freehold) must be displayed on all listings by the end of May 2022.
The further 2 phases which will be backed by legislation are intended to make it compulsory to show details on which utilities are available at a property and what restrictions (covenants, boundaries etc) there are. Additional information has been described as any details “that could influence a transaction decision, plus flooding risk and other elements”. This information will include unavoidable costs that will be incurred by the occupier regardless of the use of the property including ground rent, service charges and review periods.
Trading Standards announced that they have had “overwhelming support within the industry for the mandatory disclosure of material information”. It is expected that with just this first phase, there will be a vast reduction in unnecessary enquiries to agents and letting company’s which in turn will see less contracts fail, making sales and lettings faster and smoother.
A spokesperson from National Trading Standards stated
“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. This project will make it easier for estate and letting agents to meet their legal obligations and we look forward to supporting them as they get to grips with a new way of working. We also welcome the involvement of the conveyancers, lawyers and other organisations who are already on board with the process and are putting support in place for agents.”
The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities commented with
“A key part of levelling up is creating a fair and just housing system that works for everyone, and this includes supporting more first-time buyers to move onto the housing ladder. Far too often when buying and selling properties, deals fall through, costing young people thousands of pounds in wasted expense. By providing all the necessary information up front, this can be avoided, and it will make the process of buying a first home much easier and more cost-effective.”