Conveyancers should see the need for certain material information to be disclosed in property listings as a ‘business opportunity’ that will make their life easier further down the line, the chief executive of membership body Propertymark has said.

National Conveyancing Week, now in its second year, began today with a panel discussion on material and upfront information.

Agents are obliged under the Consumer Protection Regulations not to omit any material information on property listings. Last November, National Trading Standards published a full set of guidance detailing the minimum amount of information expected in a property listing.

Asked how the guidance has been received by estate agents, Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, a membership body for property agents, said many agents are ‘pro it’ while some are a ‘little bit hesitant’ as they work out what they must do.

Emerson said: ‘We’re trying to make sure we can point [buyers] to the relevant information that may affect their decision… At the beginning of the journey, we have got people running around viewing a property with very basic information. They’re making an initial decision on probably the largest purchase of their life with very little information.’

If Emerson were a conveyancer, ‘I would see it as a business opportunity. What can I do to get involved at the beginning and make my job easier further down the line’.

Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said the material information guidance was an opportunity for conveyancers ‘to identify what we need to be telling the seller the average consumer would be impacted by. We can start solving these things before a buyer is found’.

On the difference between upfront and material information, Rudolf said: ‘The way I see upfront information, we have identified the things you need to review to be able to identify the relevant material information to that property. It may be that once you have reviewed it, there is nothing relevant. [For example] there is no tree protection order, it does have planning permission… Unless you’ve got that upfront information, you’re not going to be able to identify what’s relevant.’

National Trading Standards’ Emma Cooke said estate agents were not being asked to become conveyancers or surveyors. ‘We’re asking for earlier engagement with these people. You are the specialists in this field.’ National Trading Standards will focus next on consumer education, the event heard.


This article is now closed for comment.