Material information on property listings – A guide for landlords

March 07, 2024

For over a decade and a half, estate and letting agents have been legally bound not to exclude essential information from property listings. The goal is to ensure potential buyers and renters have all the details about a property that could influence their decision before proceeding with a transaction.

However, until recently, this has been a somewhat unclear area because ‘essential’ was never clearly defined. So, even when agents included everything they knew about a property in the listing, there were likely crucial bits of information they simply didn’t know about, such as:

  • Rights of way over land that could impact the enjoyment of the property
  • Restrictive covenants, preventing residents from owning pets
  • Parking restrictions or parking permit requirements

This meant that tenants and buyers only discovered essential information once they’d already invested time and money into the legal buying or renting process. If the issue was significant, transactions often had to be renegotiated or would fall through.

What is “material information”?

What does ‘material information’ mean? Per the NTSELAT guidelines, ‘material information’ that should be included when a property is listed includes:

For every property:

  • Asking price
  • Layout plan/room sizes
  • EPC rating
  • Council tax band
  • Ownership type
  • Extra costs – for instance, ground rent, service charge, estate rent charge
  • Main-connected utilities
  • Broadband availability
  • Mobile phone signal strength
  • Parking details

For specific properties, if applicable:

  • Usage and alteration restrictions
  • Rights of way
  • Reservations
  • Accessibility features
  • Mining issues
  • Risk of floods
  • Coastal erosion risk

What are the new rules? 

Over the past few years, the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) has collaborated with industry leaders and major UK property portals to clarify the essential information that should be included in a property listing. The complete programme of changes was published at the end of November 2023.

The new NTSELAT guidance clarifies what information agents need to gather from landlords and sellers, ensuring tenants and buyers know all relevant factors before agreeing to rent or buy a property. Even though it’s guidance, it’s considered best practice and the new industry standard. Property listing portals, including Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket, have been updating their listing software to accommodate the new information.

What information should your estate and letting agent be asking you for?

What information should your estate and letting agent be asking you for? The guidance is split into three parts, with separate guides for lettings and sales. As a landlord, this is the information your agent should be including on a property you are buying or letting:

Part A covers essential basic information:

  • Council Tax or Domestic Rates
  • Rent
  • Details of any deposits payable

Part B is information that must be established for all properties:

  • The property type and construction materials
  • The number and type of rooms, including measurements
  • Utilities – that’s information about the supply of water, electricity and broadband; the heating system; sewerage arrangements, and mobile phone signal/coverage
  • Parking – the availability of parking at the property; whether a permit is required; whether there is an EV charging point

Part C is information that only needs to be provided if the property is affected by a specific issue:

  • Building safety – e.g., if there is any unsafe cladding or risk of collapse of any part of the property
  • Rights and restrictions that could affect the tenant’s use of the property – e.g., lease restrictions, such as no pets; restrictions on running a business from home; any public right of way over the land
  • Any known planning permission and development proposals
  • Property adaptations – e.g., ramps for step-free access
  • Risk of flooding and erosion
  • Coalfield or mining area

We are developing our systems and processes here at ZJB to incorporate all of the changes.

How the changes can benefit you

Naturally, this change in what’s included in property listings is beneficial for buyers and tenants, who will now have much more complete information about the homes they’re considering. But it also benefits you as a landlord in two key ways:

  • It reduces the risk of fall-throughs when buying and void periods when renting.
  • You may sell or let your property more quickly, as buyers and tenants will have all the essential information upfront before they even view.

The new rules and guidance for property listings not only provide a clearer path for estate and letting agents but also create a more transparent environment for buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants. This transparency increases the credibility of the property market and creates a better experience for the customer. Active listings are a vital part of the property market, giving potential buyers and renters a preview of available properties at any given time. These listings need to be accurate, detailed and up-to-date, ensuring that customers have access to all the relevant information they need to make informed decisions. 

If you are in need of any advice or have any questions regarding the above information, then get in touch with one of our experts today.