Category: Landlords, Lettings, Residential

Date posted: April 4, 2024

Author: Haslams

Material Information Parts B&C – An FAQ for vendors and landlords Thumbnail

Material Information Parts B&C – An FAQ for vendors and landlords

What is Material Information?

The Material Information regulations are part of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations which became law in 2008 (often known as the CPRs). All businesses in the UK have a legal duty not to omit information which is material to the average consumer’s transactional decision.

Why are Material Information Parts B & C being introduced?

For years it has been ambiguous about what information is material. For example, is it material that the phone signal is weak at the property? Or that there is a noisy road 100 metres away? Or that the property flooded 37 years ago? The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Team has tried to reduce this ambiguity by issuing Parts A, B and C of the Material Information guidance. Part A came into force in 2022 and made it compulsory to publish information such as leasehold length, ground rent, length of tenancy and council tax band. Parts B & C are also now compulsory, and require more information from the property owner. See
https://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/news/full-material-information-guidance-published/

What do Material Information Parts B & C involve?

Part B includes questions about property type and construction; number & type of rooms; water, sewage, heating and electrics; strength of phone and broadband; parking allowance. Part C includes questions about building safety, property restrictions, rights and easements, flood risk, coastal erosion, planning permissions, accessibility and adaptations and coalfield and mining.

Do they apply to developers and housebuilders? To vendors and landlords?

TThey apply to every property which is marketed for sale or rental in the UK, irrespective of whether the owner is an individual or a business. Hence they apply to developers, housebuilders and New Homes.

Are Material Information Parts B & C a good idea?

We believe they are a good idea. Trying to ‘hide’ a property’s problems may be illegal and leads to sales falling through and unhappy tenants, both of which waste the owner’s time and money. We support the regulations even if the implementation is time-consuming.

Who manages this legislation?

Trading Standards in Reading police the CPR legislation.

Can I opt out of providing Material Information Parts B & C?

The CPRs apply to every property that is marketed to let or to sell and it is not possible to opt out.

Do you, as my sales or letting agent, know the answer to these questions already?

First, we must ask each property owner by law; second, often we do not know all the answers to the questions, even if we have been managing the property for years. For example, we do not track local planning applications for every property we sell or let, and we do not track changes to cladding in large buildings (which your Block Manager should advise you on).

I use other agents and they are not asking me to do this.

Each agent has a choice: do they want to be legal or illegal? We are choosing the former as this will protect our clients should a claim be made.

What are the penalties for not providing the necessary Material Information?

As the agent, we face a potentially unlimited fine and two years in prison. Vendors are governed by the Misrepresentations Act 1967 where any deliberately untrue or misleading information may result in fines, compensation to the buyer and even the rescission of the exchanged contract (the sale is unwound).

The documents say that the Material Information requirements are for ‘Guidance’ – does that mean they are voluntary?

The word ‘Guidance’ is misleading. The CPRs are a legal obligation and Material Information is part of it.

Why don’t I see anything on Rightmove or Zoopla about this?

Both companies have said they are in the process of making changes to their websites so that material information for each property is more visible.