"Part A" Material Information

Part A contains information that is always considered material, regardless of the specific circumstances. This ensures that consumers have the essential information needed to decide whether to investigate a property further.

This section includes:

Council Tax or Domestic Rates

Quote: “NTSELAT’s view is that the Council Tax banding / Domestic Rates are always considered material information for every property listing. “

Maetrial Information - Part A - council tax

Council Tax band (in England, Wales and Scotland)

The listing must show the property’s Council Tax band, information typically known by the seller. This can be verified through the GOV.UK Tax Service for England and Wales or the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) for Scotland. Sellers should be consulted to verify if significant changes that could affect the Council Tax band have occurred, with further details available on GOV.UK and the SAA website.

The Council Tax band may be removed in certain cases, and such instances should be clearly indicated in the listing. Properties might also be exempt from Council Tax under specific conditions. If exempt, the listing should disclose the reason, such as a prohibition order. Property agents must also state if a property faces a Council Tax (Empty Homes) Premium, where applicable, within the property description.

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Domestic Rates (In Northern Ireland)

The listing should include details about the rates. You can verify the property valuation through the Department of Finance (NI) – Property Valuation website, and the current owner should also confirm these details. Additional information is accessible online via “A guide to rates.” Property agents can choose the payment period to display, ensuring it accurately reflects the property valuation at the time of listing.

New builds and Council Tax / Domestic Rates

For new build properties, the Council Tax band or property rates might be unknown when listing but should be updated once available. Property agents could include a qualifying statement in the property description, such as “new build – Council Tax/rates not yet available,” to inform potential buyers.

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Asking price

The listing must display the asking price as a numerical figure. It is acceptable to advertise properties with a price range, provided it genuinely reflects the market value and is not a strategy to artificially boost interest—such as setting a lower price band to fall into a lesser stamp duty category. Pricing can be presented in various formats, such as “offers in the region of” or “offers in excess of.” 

Additionally, the listing should include any other financial obligations linked to the property or the purchase process, like reservation fees or contributions towards communal areas in a freehold property.

Price and new build properties

New build property developments can be advertised as “coming soon” before any construction starts. However, this should be updated with an asking price once it is known. The advertisement must also detail relevant financial aspects such as reservation fees, service charges, estate rent charges, and any expenses tied to commonhold assessments or levies.

Quote: “NTSELAT’s view is that the asking price is always considered material information for every property listing. “

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Tenure

The property listing must specify the tenure type, such as “freehold” or “leasehold,” indicating the legal ownership method. This information is crucial as it influences the owner’s legal rights and the costs associated with the property. The various tenure options include:

  1. – Freehold, referred to as “heritable title” in Scotlan
  2. – Leasehold
  3. – Shared ownership
  4. – Commonhold
  5. – Non-traditional tenure

Material Information - Part A - tenure

Further details on each tenure type can be found below.

Quote: “NTSELAT’s view is that the property tenure is always considered material information for every property listing. “

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Freehold

Freehold means the seller owns the property and the land it’s built on. Typically, the owner handles maintenance and enjoys greater freedom to modify the property within local planning guidelines.

Other relevant aspects of freehold ownership may affect certain properties. These should also be disclosed in the listing if applicable.

Freehold with managed common areas

Some freehold properties come with common areas like car parks, gardens, staircases, and lobbies, managed for the benefit of all entitled users. Listings should include any fees related to these areas. Property owners are expected to be aware of these details.

Flying / creeping freehold

This refers to situations where part of the property for sale extends over or beneath another property owned by someone else, such as a room above a shared passageway (like a coach house) or a ground floor room under a neighbour’s upper floor (such as a basement). This arrangement may impact mortgage options and home insurance. Prospective buyers must consider the property’s ongoing maintenance and access rights.

Tenure in Scotland

The property ownership system in Scotland, including for flats within a block, differs from that in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Properties are owned outright, akin to freehold ownership, referred to as “heritable title.”

Leasehold

A leasehold grants a legal interest in a property, allowing the leaseholder the option to extend the lease at a cost either during or at the end of the term. The lease outlines maintenance responsibilities and typically requires the leaseholder to obtain the landlord’s consent for internal and external alterations. Leaseholders are usually obligated to pay additional charges, including ground rent, service charges, and contributions to a sinking fund, which are detailed below.

More details on leasehold properties are available through The Leasehold Advisory Service online.

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Current ground rent and any review period

The listing should include details about current ground rent payments and the review period.

material information Part A - rent

The seller or owner responsible for these payments should provide this information. It’s essential to mention both the review period and the date of the next review, as the review date may not align with the purchase date.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, effective in England and Wales, caps ground rents for leases created after 30th June 2022 (or April 2023 for retirement homes) at an annual rent of one peppercorn, essentially zero financial value. This information should be confirmed with the seller and verified in the lease.

Current service charge information

The listing must feature details on current service charge payments, information the seller or owner should possess since they are responsible for these payments, and it should also be documented in the lease. Service charges can be fixed or variable, with the lease specifying the payment period and frequency. Payment methods may differ from property to property.

Material Information - Part A - service charge

Additionally, some leasehold management schemes involve contributions to a reserve or sinking fund intended for future or planned maintenance works. Property agents should verify this information with the lease administrator.

Length of lease (also known as the “term”)

The listing should include information on the lease length, as specified in the property’s title documentation and the lease itself. Potential buyers must be aware of the remaining years on the lease, as this can impact their ability to secure a mortgage and could pose challenges if they decide to sell the property later.

Material Information - Part A -lease term

Shared ownership

When listing a property under “shared ownership,” it’s essential to include the percentage share for sale, the rent payable on the remaining share held by the landlord, and any additional liabilities or obligations.

Shared ownership is a type of leasehold ownership where the buyer owns a portion of the property and pays rent on the part not owned. Buyers often can buy more shares, eventually owning the property outright, a process called “staircasing.” Note that schemes may vary in devolved nations and should be clearly identified.

Shared ownership typically involves a service charge, and the seller should provide details based on their current payments. Resources are available online through The Leasehold Advisory Service for more information on shared ownership.

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Commonhold

The listing should detail any commonhold arrangements. In commonhold, the freehold estate of the property’s land is collectively owned, and a commonhold or residents’ association manages the estate’s common parts.

Commonhold tenure does not impose a limit on ownership duration. Specific legislation governs commonhold properties, and more information on commonhold is available online through The Leasehold Advisory Service.

Shared freehold / share of freehold

The seller might possess a share of the freehold for the building in addition to owning their specific leasehold property. In such cases, multiple leasehold owners collectively own the freehold, sharing responsibility for it.

Despite this shared ownership, additional charges and fees for communal areas may still apply. Sellers should have this information on hand, and property agents can further verify details by reviewing the title documents.

Non-Traditional Tenure

The listing should mention any non-traditional tenures. Non-traditional tenure refers to properties that do not fit into the categories of leasehold, freehold, or commonhold, such as riverboats and park homes.

Owners of privately operated park home sites must have and prominently display a licence. Prospective buyers of park homes and riverboats must consider factors like licence availability, licence costs, mooring fees, and suitable insurance products.

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Additional information about tenure

Properties or land can be either registered or unregistered. For registered properties, information is accessible online from the Land Registry (England and Wales), the Land Register of Scotland, or the Land Registry (Northern Ireland) for a nominal fee.

If a property is unregistered, the title deeds may be with the current owner, conveyancer, mortgage lender, or bank. It’s important to verify that the property’s boundary on the title plan accurately reflects the land and property for sale.

Any discrepancies between the title plan and the actual land or property should prompt the seller to consult a conveyancer or the relevant land registration organisation.

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