Why home sellers need to be aware of the new material information legislation

- Wed 22 May 2024

Following the release of Material Information part A for estate agents in 2022 then parts B & C at the end of 2023, estate agents and conveyancers have been trying to understand what it means for both agents and the sellers, as both are equally liable.

National Trading Standards for Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSEALT) are actively monitoring the required information is made available for potential buyers prior to a property being marketed for sale. These key facts about each property will enable buyers to make a more informed decision prior to view or offer on a property. For those properties not disclosing the required information, there could be severe penalties.

To help understand what this entails, here is a summary:

Material Information Parts A, B, and C

Part A

  • Overview: Part A covers essential information that should be disclosed in property listings. It includes details like the property type, construction type, and the number and type of rooms.
  • Examples:
    • Property type (e.g., detached house, flat, bungalow).
    • Construction type (e.g., traditional, prefabricated, timber frame).
    • Number of rooms and their types (e.g., bedrooms, bathrooms).

Part B

  • Physical Characteristics of the Property:
    • Property Type: Mention whether the property is a detached house, semi-detached house, flat, bungalow, etc.
    • Construction Type: Provide information about the construction type (e.g., traditional, prefabricated, timber frame).
    • Number and Type of Rooms: Accurately describe the rooms in the property.
    • Services – including heating, water, sewerage, mobile, broadband coverage.
  • Additional Considerations:

Part C    

    • Applicability: Part C focuses on property-specific issues. It only needs to be established if the property is affected by certain issues.
    • Examples of Issues:
      • Flood Risk: If the property is in a flood-prone area.
      • Restrictive Covenants: Any restrictions related to the property. Including covenants, rights of way, easements.
      • Other Relevant Factors: Specific to the property (e.g., unique features, historical significance).

Penalties for Non-Compliance

  1. Unlimited Fines: Failure to disclose material information can result in unlimited fines.
  2. Lifetime Bans: Estate agents and sellers may face lifetime bans from the industry.
  3. Imprisonment: In severe cases, imprisonment may be imposed2.

Many homeowners will know the majority of the above information, however due to the technical nature of part c, both National Trading Standards and the Law Society are strongly advising all sellers to instruct a conveyancer prior to marketing their home for sale to ensure they are compliant.

Bradleys Estate Agents are uniquely placed to help all sellers with material information parts A, B & C as they have been working alongside the regions top law firms for many years and have now adopted some market leading technology to assist clients with meeting the latest requirements.

For many years, the team at Bradleys have advised sellers to instruct a conveyancer from day one, and here are some of the reasons sellers should consider it in addition to protecting themselves from being penalised by National Trading Standards:

Why Instruct a Conveyancer Before Marketing?

  1. Speed and Efficiency: Appointing a conveyancer early allows them to complete essential tasks in advance, reducing delays.
  2. Preparation: Your conveyancer can verify identity, source property deeds, and address other legal requirements before accepting an offer.
  3. Avoid Buyer Frustration: Buyer’s dislike waiting for initial contract papers. Being prepared ensures a smoother transaction.
  4. No Sale, No Fee Basis – when instructing Bradleys Conveyancing service, the basic legal fees are provided with a no move, no fee basis for peace of mind.

In summary, sellers should prioritise material information disclosure, understand the penalties for non-compliance, and engage a conveyancer early to streamline the selling process. When discussing your move with Bradleys Estate Agents, they can ensure a legally sound and stress-free home sale experience.