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What is Material Information?

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Most property listings contain some pictures, plus the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, energy efficiency and a few other details. But the information estate agents are required to show has changed, and they now need to provide material information on the property. Here, we’ve got everything there is to know about material information and what it means for you. 

The definition of material information

According to The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), material information is information an average consumer needs within the context of the product, service or, in the case of property, housing. 

Essentially, it’s anything that can impact the decision a consumer makes concerning a property. This may include arranging a viewing, making an offer or renting. For example, failing to specify a property’s ownership type – be it leasehold, freehold or part-ownership – can be interpreted as failing to provide material information. 

Estate agents should inform prospective buyers or renters about the material information at the easiest possible time. In most cases, this is on the listing page of the home. The scheme was brought about by the National Trading Standards Estate and Lettings Agent Team (NTSELAT). 

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What qualifies as material information?

Along with the type of ownership, other include:

Homes for sale

The property listing must contain ground rent and services charges, council tax band, purchase price and tenure – eg, is the property freehold or leasehold? 

Shared ownership

Details of the share being sold must be included. So should liabilities or obligations, such additional payment amounts.

Homes for rent

Letting information needs to contain council tax band or domestic rate details, information regarding any deposits payable and the rental amount. The rental amount for the property should be listed as a numerical amount and the related time period should be displayed e.g. per calendar month. If rent is paid monthly, the equivalent weekly rental amount can be shown for information purposes but if rent cannot be paid weekly then this must be clear from the listing. 

The complete list of details regarding material information hasn’t been fully defined yet, and the work is ongoing. Organisations like Propertymark are taking an active role in the working group in determining what else constitutes material information.

What isn’t included?

While vital information regarding the home must be included, other details – such as the number of good schools in the area or nearby transport links – aren’t required. This info might be necessary to a buyer or renter, but it’s not considered material information.  

Our property report, however, does contain information about schools in the area or the nearby transport links. It can help you to make a balanced and well-informed decision. It’s designed to help you to move with confidence and to get a better deal in the process. 

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Why is there a need for material information?

Displaying material information means prospective buyers and sellers get essential details about the property first-hand. Consequently, they can feel more confident when making enquiries about the home.

Beyond that, the material information eventually comes to light at some stage, especially when someone buys a home. Showcasing it on the property listing means consumers can see it earlier and will reduce unnecessary enquiries, hopefully resulting in a swifter sales process and a smoother transaction for everyone involved. 

Which property listings should have this included?

Residential property listings appearing on an online portals, must feature material information. This means any home listed for sale or to rent qualifies. Estate agents should also feature the necessary details on their websites and wherever the property may be advertised.

Who is responsible for displaying the information?  

Estate and letting agents are responsible for displaying it at the earliest possible opportunity. Failure to do so will see the missing information flagged on the listing, so consumers can see what’s missing. It will also link to help on why the information is important and how it can be obtained. Sellers are also responsible for providing this, although it’s not required until later in the buying stage during conveyancing. 

The right type of information

More transparency can only be a good thing for buyers and renters, and now it’s a requirement that you have important information about a property before making a decision. 

Sellers and landlords will also want to instruct high-level estate and letting agents that ensure all material listing requirements are met. That’s why using a Propertymark Protected agent is an excellent place to start. You’ll find only qualified estate agents that are part of Propertymark’s membership and adhere to higher standards and practices. 

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Last Updated: August 4th, 2022