What is Part A, B & C Material Information?

What is Part A, B & C Material Information?

Understanding the intricacies of property information is crucial for both buyers and sellers in the Property Market. Let's delve into the significance of Part A, B, and C Material Information, providing a comprehensive overview of each section's key elements.

As professionals – whether you're an Estate Agent, Surveyor, Solicitor, or Conveyancer – safeguarding our clients' interests and meeting their property expectations is absolutely paramount. Now, imagine this: the property landscape is constantly shifting, and to truly excel in our roles, we need to stay at the top of our game. That's where the new Part A, B, and C Material Information come into play.

On this journey together, we're about to unveil the crucial significance of embracing and adhering to these updates. We'll unravel the core elements within each section, shedding light on how this knowledge isn't just about ticking compliance boxes; it's about supercharging our ability to serve clients effectively. Join us on this journey as we uncover the key insights that empower industry professionals to navigate the changing tides of property information with expertise and confidence.

 

Part A Material Information

 

Unveiling the essentials

Part A focuses on fundamental aspects critical for any potential property buyer. Council Tax band or Domestic Rate information, asking price, and tenure are the cornerstone elements discussed in this section. Whether it's a freehold with managed common areas, a leasehold with specific details, shared ownership complexities, or even non-traditional tenures like riverboats and park homes – Part A ensures that you are well-informed about the foundational aspects of the property.

 

 

Part B Material Information

 

Peeling back the layers

Moving beyond the basics, Part B explores the physical characteristics of the property, including room types, utilities, and parking. From the property type and floor details to the materials used in construction, this section leaves no stone unturned. Buyers gain insights into the property's heating systems, broadband options, and even the mobile signal coverage. As parking becomes an increasingly vital consideration, Part B thoroughly addresses various options and potential implications.

 

 

Part C Material Information

 

Navigating through crucial details

Part C delves into critical information that can significantly impact a property's desirability and functionality. From building safety considerations and potential restrictions to flood and erosion risks, this section covers an array of essential details. With legislative changes post the Grenfell Tower tragedy, buyers are guided through questions related to building safety, costs, and ongoing responsibilities.

 

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Part A Material Information

  • Council Tax band or Domestic Rate information;
  • Asking price; and
  • Tenure

 

Tenure

Freehold with Managed common areas – Are there Estate Rent Charges?

Flying/creeping freehold

Leasehold – Current ground rent and any review period; Current service charge information; Length of lease

Shared ownership – Percentage share being sold and rent payable on the rest, lease details and any other liabilities

Commonhold – Shared freehold/share of freehold

Non-Traditional Tenure –  eg riverboats & park homes

 

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Part B Material Information

  • The physical characteristics of the property
  • The number and type(s) of room
  • Utilities
  • Parking

 

Physical characteristics of the property

Property type – Detached, semi, mid terraced, bungalow, studio, flat/apartment etc

Where non-standard property types are used then additional information should be given in free text

The floor the property is situated on should be stated

Details if located over commercial premises as this may impact mortgage availability

 

Material type / materials used in construction

Where materials used in construction may impact on the buyer

A “known consideration” may be, for example, something to do with property materials that knowingly impacts the buyer’s enjoyment of the property, mortgage availability, or the availability of relevant insurance products.

Some common examples of construction type/materials used include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • A thatched roof
  • Prefabricated buildings
  • Timber framed windows 

Detailed photographs of ALL internal and external areas may suffice – How would they do the loft?

 

Number and type(s) of room(s)

Where relevant, the descriptions should highlight areas that are affected by room shape, such as bedrooms affected by the slope of a roof/ceiling.

Rooms should not be listed as “bedrooms” if they have not met building regulations to be considered as such.

Where unsure, building regulations and planning documents should be checked, or advice sought from the local council.

 

Utilities

  • Electricity supply or supplies
  • Wind turbine(s)
  • Solar PV (Photovoltaic) panels
    Generator/private supply (including a supply type)

Information regarding any storage batteries, electric vehicle charging, and details of how the supply or installation has been provided (i.e., if they are on a lease arrangement with a third-party) should be included on the listing.

 

Water supply

A listing should include an accurate description or statement as to the nature of the supply (or supplies) of water to the property for domestic purposes.

Included in the description or statement should be whether or not the supply is metered.

Some common examples of water supply include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Wells
  • Boreholes
  • Springs

These supplies may bring liabilities for the control or maintenance of structures and water quality that is binding on the homeowner depending on the requirements of the devolved nation and local authority. (e.g., Under The Water Industry Act 19918 in England and Wales).

If the source of the water supply originates beyond the property boundary, the property listing should include relevant information regarding any issues with accessing the supply for maintenance or repair (e.g., disclosing any relevant easements, wayleaves, or public rights of way that allow for access) (see Section 3 – Material Information Part C, below, for more information).

 

Sewerage

Some common examples of sewerage include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Septic tank (including tank type)
  • Domestic/small sewage treatment plants (including plant type)
  • Cesspit
  • Cesspool

Septic tanks and cesspits/cesspools may require emptying and maintenance, and costs will vary between providers; and septic tanks or sewage treatment plants may have additional registration and record keeping requirements.

Responsibility for the drains within the property boundary should be disclosed – as potential buyers may want or need to take out additional insurance.

 

Heating

A listing should include an accurate description or statement as to the nature of the supply (or
supplies) of heating at the property.

Some common examples of heating type include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Electric central or room heating
  • Communal heating systems (heat networks, and community/district heating system(s))
  • LPG/oil central heating (tanks and/or bottles)
  • Wood burner/open fire
  • Biomass boiler
  • Solar panels and related technology
  • Ground or air source heat pump

Different heating sources have specific considerations and may require regular maintenance and servicing, and all sources of heating should be detailed. Where relevant, property agents should state whether there are different arrangements for water heating and space heating. For example, the property may have a gas boiler for heating water, but only have electric radiators for the rooms.

 

Communal heating systems

Where a communal or district heating and/or cooling system is provided in a property (e.g., in a managed block of flats), the listing should include information about:

  • How the cost of the heating supply is to be charged (e.g., will the prospective buyer be charged based on usage; through a general apportionment; or through a service charge?)
  • Whether the prospective buyer will have any control over the energy provider.
  • Whether the prospective buyer will have any control over the heating (i.e., can they turn it on and off?)

It is likely that the energy for a communal or district system will be supplied to the property under a commercial contract through the freeholder or block manager, and the consumer will have little control over its management but be liable for costs. Consumers should be made aware of this.

If any of the heating equipment is leased and not owned outright (e.g., if the solar panels are leased from a third party or company), then this should be included on the property listing.

Broadband
A listing should include an accurate description or statement as to the nature of the supply (or supplies) of broadband to the property.

Some common examples of broadband type include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • ADSL copper wire
  • Cable
  • FTTC (fibre to the cabinet)
  • FTTP (fibre to the premises)

Where a property has an exclusive or dedicated broadband supplier (e.g., on a new build property estate), a property listing should include whether the buyer has the ability to change provider on the open market.

Where there is no primary broadband infrastructure/supply, property listings should include other relevant options that allow internet connection (e.g., satellite or mobile).

For an indication of specific speeds and supply or coverage in the area, we recommend signposting potential buyers to the Ofcom checker.

 

Mobile signal/coverage

A listing should include an accurate description or statement as to the nature of the mobile signal and coverage available at the property, including any known issues or restrictions.

Sellers and agents should disclose any known issues with mobile phone signal, such as areas of restricted coverage specific to a property.

 

Parking

  • Drive
  • Garage
  • Street parking (permit/no permit required)
  • Communal car park (with or without allocated spaces)
  • No parking available

A property may have more than one option and all options should be clearly listed in the property description. If car parking forms part of any service charge, it should be included in the service charges details and if it is a separate payment, this should also be included.

Details of where allocated parking is in relation to the property should be included, along with the presence of any designated disabled parking spaces (e.g., on-street dropped-kerb disabled bays) where known.

It is advised that property agents include information relating to existing or potential electric vehicle (EV) charging at the property.

Where a property can obtain a parking permit (e.g., in a local authority Residents’ Parking Zone) the buyer should be made aware where there is a cost or limitation in obtaining one.

Agents may wish to add whether the parking space is included in the title deed or whether there is a separate deed/contract for the parking space.

Some properties may have access to other car parks; however, this is not considered the same as a communal residential car park. It is important for consumers to be made aware that this may bring additional insurance costs and should therefore be disclosed.

 

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Part C Material Information

This includes:

  • Building safety
  • Restrictions and rights
  • Flood and erosion risk
  • Planning permission and proposals for development
  • Property accessibility and adaptations
  • Coalfield or mining area

This list is not exhaustive, and property agents should disclose any information which is material information. This list is intended to support industry by providing a minimum framework of information that should be disclosed to consumers on property listings if it affects the property in question.

 

Building Safety

A listing should include, if relevant, an accurate description of any known building safety issues as well as any planned or required works needed to rectify any identified defect/hazard.
Some common examples of building safety issues include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Unsafe cladding
  • Integrity of building materials used in construction (e.g., asbestos)
  • Risk of collapse (e.g., damaged roofs or structural failures)
  • At-risk wooden decking for external structures (including balconies)
  • Lack of emergency lighting where required
  • Insufficient fire/smoke alarm systems

This is a broad area and is not limited to only fire safety in tall buildings. While this guidance takes a particular focus on leasehold properties in tall buildings, this section relates to any issue of safety in a residential building that is material information and, generally, building safety issues that may impact the buyer’s cost of repair or maintenance; the availability of mortgage products; the availability of relevant insurance products; or the buyer’s peace, privacy, or enjoyment of the property.

Where multiple issues are found to be present, all should be listed. These issues can be complex so should be explained in simple terminology that is easy to understand and the scale of any remediation or development work made clear.

In some cases, building safety work may have already been completed (e.g., remediation to unsafe cladding on a tall building) and it is recommended to obtain a copy of the completion certificate.

  • Where there are identified building safety issues you should be able to answer this list as a bare minimum:
  • What is the defect/hazard?
  • What work needs to be done?
  • What work has already been done?
  • What will the potential cost be to the new purchaser?
  • Will it affect the buyer’s ability to reside within the property? (i.e., will they need to move into temporary accommodation whilst works are undertaken?)

The costing of work and who is liable to pay for any remediation or waking watch fire patrols can be very complex. If the estimated cost isn’t already known, the listing should warn prospective buyers that there may be (potentially) considerable costs of repair or remediation, which can sometimes be in the thousands or tens of thousands of pounds.

The tragedy of the Grenfell tower disaster in 2017 has brought around widespread attention and legislative changes to building safety via the introduction of the Fire Safety Act 20219 and the Building Safety Act 202210. They have been introduced to increase the safety of both high-rise buildings and any building containing two or more domestic premises. These buildings can be categorised into three main sections.

  • Buildings ≥18m or that has at least 7 storeys
  • Buildings 11<18m
  • Buildings <11 meters or under 5 stories

A proportion of these buildings do not comply with the new legislation introduced so are either currently being adapted or due to be adapted to meet the new requirements. This comes with potential expenditure and disruption. It is vital for anyone considering buying one of these properties to have the answers to these questions.

  • What work has already been completed in order to make it compliant with new and existing building safety legislation?
  • What work needs to be done or is planned to be done to the building to remedy any concerns?
  • What are the financial implications of purchasing this property?
    • Any waking watch costs due?
    • Any quotes received or estimated costs of works to be done?
  • What will the disruption be to the property whilst the building work is ongoing?
  • What will my responsibility be to the safety of this building?

Some of these questions will be more complex than others due to the uniquely complex situation of each building.

 

What are the financial implications of purchasing this property?

The actual or expected cost of remediation or mitigation for any relevant building safety issue should be disclosed where the liability for payment falls to the prospective buyer. Where the actual cost is not known, property agents should at a minimum include a statement to the effect that costs may be due.

In some cases, costs for building safety remediation or mitigation may be capped to a certain amount for a leaseholder.

In some cases, prospective buyers may need to vacate the premises to allow for certain remediation or building work to be carried out. If this is known, the duration and scope of this should be disclosed.

A Leaseholder Deed of Certificate (LDoC) ascertains whether the lease is qualifying or non-qualifying under the Building Safety Act 2022, based on information about the owner on 14 February 2022. The qualifying status of the lease will determine whether, if any, costs can be passed on to the current or future owners of the lease. In a property over 11 metres or 5 storeys+ it would be advisable to ask the current owner to fill out a LDoC, if there are building safety issues or any suspected issues.

 

What will my responsibility be to the safety of this building?

With the change in legislation, it is important for a buyer to know what their responsibilities and associated ongoing costs are for maintaining building safety within a block (including fire safety). 

The existing property owner, conveyancer, and property surveyor should be able to provide elements of this information to the agent. Ultimately, while building safety in tall buildings is an important consideration, building safety concerns, costs, and detriment should be disclosed in property listings where it is known.

 

Restrictions and rights

A listing should include, if relevant, an accurate description or statement of any known statutory or contractual restrictions that relate to the property.

Some common examples of restrictions include (the list is not exhaustive, but includes useful links):

  • Conservation areas (HMLR – Local Land Charges, Local Planning Authority)
  • Lease restrictions (HMLR)
  • Listed building status (HMLR – Local Land Charges, Historic England, CADW, Historic Environment Scotland, NI Direct)
  • Real burdens (only in Scotland)
  • Restriction on permitted development. (Article 4 Direction) (HMLR – Local Land Charges, Local Planning Authority)
  • Restrictive covenants (HMLR)
  • Tree preservation orders (HMLR – Local Land Charges, Local Planning Authority)

The terminology can vary between devolved nations so the nature of the restriction and the implication of the restrictions should be explained in detail.

Generally, this includes the existence or nature of any restrictive covenants, or of any restrictions on resale, restrictions on use, or pre-emption rights and, in relation to land in Scotland, also the existence or nature of any reservations or real conditions. This may also include common restrictions on:

  • Sub-letting part or all the property
  • Running a business from the property
  • Renting the property as a holiday home
  • Parking large vehicles or static homes on the premises

 

Listed buildings

Where the property is a listed building, this should be clearly and accurately stated on the property listing (e.g., “this is a grade II listed building” or by showing “yes” to any listed building criteria in a property portal). The type of listed building status varies across the devolved nations.

For properties in England and Wales, HM Land Registry provide an online land and property information portals where details of restrictive covenants and associated restrictions may be found. Otherwise, copies of the title deeds should be obtained.

 

Rights and easements

Some common examples of rights and easements include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Public rights of way across the land (Local Planning Authority)
  • Easements (HMLR)
  • Servitudes (Registers of Scotland)

A Public Right of Way (PROW) is a legal record of the public's rights of way in one of four categories:

  • Footpaths (for walking, running, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs).
  • Bridleways (for walking, horse riding, bicycles, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs).
  • Restricted byways (for any transport without a motor and mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs).
  • Byways open to all traffic (for any kind of transport, including cars (but they’re mainly used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders).

 

Flood/erosion risk

A listing should include, if relevant, an accurate description or statement as to any known risk of, or actual, flooding at the property.

A property’s risk of flood may involve some cost of maintenance or repair (e.g., for remediation or sea defences), affect mortgage availability, or affect the availability of relevant insurance products (e.g., building insurance, contents insurance, or increased insurance premiums).

To help property agents understand what is meant by “flood risk”, we have created three questions to be answered.

  • Has the property been flooded in the last 5 years?
  • What are the sources of risk? (e.g., river, sea, ground water, surface water etc)
  • Are there any flooding or sea defences at the property? (Including details).

 

Property agents should take a pragmatic and diligent approach to disclosing historic flooding at a property. The minimum additional information required will be:

  • When the property flooded. This should cover all flood events.
  • The frequency of flooding events.
  • The flooding source (e.g., whether a river burst its bank, ground water, sea or other).
  • What adaptations have been made to the property to help mitigate or prevent future flooding events. This should include any type of flood or sea defences created and any measures that have been taken to reduce impact in the future.
  • Whether there are known issues with obtaining insurance products due to flood risk.

In some circumstances (e.g., probate sales and repossession sales), the exact flood history of a property may not be known. Property agents should take reasonable steps to determine the history and frequency of flooding using the information above.

The existing property owner, conveyancer, and property surveyor should be able to provide elements of this information to the agent.

 

Coastal erosion risk

A listing should include, if relevant, an accurate description or statement as to any known risk of coastal erosion affecting the property and its boundary.

A property which is at risk of coastal erosion may incur additional costs for sea defence funds; and may involve some cost of maintenance or repair (e.g., for remediation or sea defences), affect mortgage availability, or affect the availability of relevant insurance products (e.g., building insurance, contents insurance, or increased insurance premiums).

 

Planning Permission or proposal for development

A listing should include, if relevant, an accurate description or statement of the existence and nature of any known planning permission or proposals for development, construction or change of use affecting the property and its immediate locality.

We encourage property agents to take a pragmatic approach to what “immediate locality” means in the context of each property and the identified issue.

Prospective buyers may be directed to the relevant local authority website for updates on planning applications and larger developments.

Some common examples of planning issues include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Existing planning permission affecting the actual or proposed construction, development, or change of use of the property and/or its land.
  • Whether there are any Article 4 (or related) directions from the local authority restricting permitted development rights, in any of the devolved nations (including for change of use of the property to an HMO).
  • Any known building works to surrounding structures that may impact on privacy or light, (e.g., where the property next door is building a second storey extension).
  • Any obstruction to a view due to an ongoing or proposed development (e.g., where a green field opposite a property is planned to be developed).

 

Property accessibility/adaptations

  • Step-free access from the street to the inside the property (this can include ramps/lifts)
  • Wet room/level access shower
  • Lateral living (essential living accommodation all on the entrance level)


This may be achieved through photography. Generally, it is recommended to take photographs looking outward to any private outside amenity/gardens (if present) and a photograph looking back into the property.

Property agents should disclose the presence of a wet floor shower room, level access or walk in shower, and/or specialist bath. This may be achieved through photography.

Lateral living – living room/kitchen/bathroom and at least one bedroom on entry level/one floor

Where there is a single storey property, or a property that has essential facilities on the entrance level, it is important to include this in any property listing. This category describes properties where there might be other rooms above the entrance level but a living room, kitchen, bathroom and at least one bedroom is located on the entry level.

 

Coalfield or mining area

A listing should include, if relevant, confirmation where a property is known to be on the coalfield or directly impacted by the effect of other mining activity.

A property’s presence on a coalfield or mining area may affect mortgage availability, or the availability of relevant insurance products (e.g., building insurance).

 

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What it mean for Surveyors

As we wrap up our journey through Part A, B, and C Material Information, it's clear that the story of a property goes way beyond what meets the eye. Now, for those curious about the connection to surveyors: In our quest to create a vibrant and well-informed property landscape for our clients, we're reaching out to proactive industry leaders like you. If you have a passion for championing buyers and ensuring estate agents stay compliant, imagine being that friendly, neutral bridge between sellers and buyers.

Let's team up to not just meet but exceed industry standards, reshaping the entire property experience for everyone involved. If you're a leader itching to make a positive impact, we warmly welcome your involvement in crafting the future of the Property Market. 

SellSmart for Surveyors. Enormous Potential. Limited Opportunities – read more.

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