FAQ

Trading Standards and Material Information Pack: Essential Guide for Estate Agents FAQ

Material information is defined as information that the average consumer needs, according to the context, to make an informed transactional decision regarding a property. This includes any information that would impact a consumer’s decision, such as arranging a viewing, making an offer to purchase, or any other aspect of the transaction process. It encompasses both positive and negative information and is essential for preventing failed transactions at a later stage​​.

For RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), material information represents the crucial data that consumers must be aware of throughout each phase of the property transaction. This information is vital for enabling potential buyers to make fully informed decisions, covering everything from the initial inquiry about a property to arranging site visits. It ensures that all necessary details, which could influence a consumer’s choice, are provided clearly and comprehensively at every step of the transaction process.

Part B information generally involves material information about the physical characteristics of the property, number and types of rooms, utilities, and parking, where such information may involve some cost of maintenance or repair, affect mortgage availability, or impact the use or enjoyment of the property.

Part C information includes building safety, restrictions and rights, flood and erosion risk, planning permission and proposals for development, property accessibility and adaptations, and whether the property is in a coalfield or mining area. This information may need to be established depending on whether the property is affected or impacted by the issue in question​​.

Material information is any information necessary for a consumer to make an informed decision regarding a property transaction. It should be determined by considering the context and circumstances of each property listing, including the location and likely buyer. Property agents are responsible for proactively requesting and verifying material information to ensure accuracy and compliance with legal requirements​​.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), which make it an offence to omit or hide material information or to provide it in a manner that is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous, or untimely.

The Fire Safety Act 2021, introduced to increase safety in high-rise buildings and buildings containing two or more domestic premises.

The Building Safety Act 2022, aimed at improving building safety and compliance​​​​.

Trading Standards does not possess the immediate authority to halt your business operations directly. Nonetheless, they hold the capability to seek judicial intervention, petitioning the courts for orders that could significantly limit or constrain your business activities. This legal pathway means that while an immediate shutdown might not be directly enforceable by Trading Standards alone, their actions can lead to court-imposed restrictions affecting your ability to trade.

Types of material information include Part A information (such as council tax band, asking price, and tenure), Part B information (physical characteristics of the property, number and types of rooms, utilities, and parking), and Part C information (building safety, restrictions and rights, flood and erosion risk, planning permission and proposals for development, property accessibility and adaptations, coalfield or mining area). Each of these categories includes specific details that need to be disclosed to ensure consumers can make informed decisions​​​​​​.

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