WHAT IS MATERIAL INFORMATION?
Material Information (MI) is information which the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision. This means any information which would impact the decision that a consumer makes in relation to a property, such as arranging a viewing, putting in an offer to purchase, and proceeding with any other aspect of the process.
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibits material information from being omitted, however due to inconsistencies with how the Regulations are interpreted, the National Trading Standards Estate and Lettings Agency Team (NTSEALT) has issued a comprehensive list of material information that needs to be disclosed.
When does it take effect?
Material Information was released in two tranches.
- Part A was released in February 2022 and agents were expected to comply by May 2022.
- Parts B and C were released at the end of November 2023 with agents expected to comply with immediate effect.
Who does it apply to?
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 apply to all estate agents, and Material Information by NTSEALT applies to all agents marketing and selling residential property as well as lettings.
What is the outcome of lack of compliance?
Where a consumer makes a transactional decision based on the omission of material information, an agent can find itself subject to financial penalty; not only from the redress scheme to which they are legally required to be a member, but also in court as a consequent of breaching the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
In addition to financial penalties, agents who do not meet these requirements may struggle to effectively market new properties. During the consultation process, Trading Standards worked closely with the major online portals to ensure the material information requirements were to be integrated into their platforms. As a result agents who do not capture this information will not be able to list their properties until all information is complete.
What information is required?
The information that is required is comprehensive and is separated in to three parts:
|Council Tax band
|Number / types of rooms
|Restrictions / rights
|Flood / erosion risk
|Accessibility / adaptations
|Coalfield / mining
Why have these requirements been implemented?
There has always been a requirement to provide this information under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 but up until now it has not been specified in such detail. Following extensive consultation with the property sector NTSEALT developed the full requirements, which can be found here, to assist agents and their vendors in meeting their obligations.
There has also been a general consensus within the property sector that a lack of upfront information during the sales process was causing significant delays and even drop outs further down the line. The belief is that by presenting purchasers with essential information upfront there will be fewer enquiries, drop outs and faster completion times.
How can Credas help?
Credas has created a comprehensive onboarding journey that can be issued to property vendors for them to provide agencies with the material information required by NTSEALT.
This information can then be used by the agency to ensure its property listings contain all the necessary information for a consumer to make an informed decision. Get in touch to learn more.