Material Information Included in TA6 Property Information Form.

Original Article
April 16th, 2024


Since the introduction of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations in 2008, businesses operating in the UK must not withhold or conceal information crucial to a consumer’s decision-making process. This obligation has been a significant challenge for sales and letting agents.

Estate and letting agents have grappled with the problem of determining which information is essential to provide, how to present it, and when to disclose it. So, in late 2020, The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) established an industry steering group to interpret and offer recommendations regarding what constitutes crucial information in property sales and lettings, as well as methods for sourcing and presenting such information. This was a collaborative effort, and the resulting guidance published in November 2023 represents the culmination of these efforts.

Obviously, the concept of material information is not new, so the guidance builds upon existing legislation. By following this guidance, it is hoped that agents can enhance the home-buying process, resulting in:

  • better-informed customers
  • faster transactions with less stress and more certainty
  • fewer failed transactions at a late stage
  • reduced complaints
  • increased trust and compliance within the industry and among its practitioners.

The NTSELAT expect that the guidance will be periodically updated as necessary. This guidance is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of what constitutes material information but rather intends to aid property agents in their understanding and interpretation of such information.

The NTSELAT guidance advises sellers to engage with their solicitor early in the process to provide an opportunity to identify and address any legal issues that may create delays with the sale, resulting in the Law Society recently releasing a new TA6 Property Information Form. This new form is designed to support the intentions of the guidance.  

The 5th edition of the TA6 Property Information Form is published as a single form in two parts:

  • Part 1 provides the material information needed by estate agents to market a property. Some of this information will also be used by solicitors and conveyancers in the conveyancing process
  • Part 2 asks supplementary questions, providing additional information that may be required for the conveyancing process

Form Changes

The TA6 Property Information Form changes include:

  • property details: including the unique property reference number (UPRN) and council tax band of the property
  • tenure, ownership and charges: whether the property is freehold, leasehold, shared ownership or commonhold; and details of the costs, such as ground rent and service charges
  • parking: including the cost of parking permits and whether the property has electric vehicle (EV) charging
  • building safety: providing details of any defects or hazards at the property and whether essential works have been recommended and carried out
  • restrictive covenants that affect the use of the property
  • flood risk and coastal erosion: to establish what the flood risk is for the area around the property, whether any defences have been installed, and if the property is near the coast, whether there is any known risk of coastal erosion
  • accessibility: the adaptations or features that have been made to provide easier access to, and within, the property
  • coalfield or mining area: identifying if the property is impacted by any past or present mining activity
  • solar panels: providing details about the installation that a buyer or lender will need to know
  • services connected: these now include air and ground heat pumps
  • drainage and sewerage: additional questions about where the sewerage system discharges to and whether it has an infiltration system
  • Japanese knotweed: refinement of the question to incorporate the area adjacent to or abutting the property.

While there are some doubts over the resources available in trading standards teams to police the regulations and guidance, clearly the landscape of the property market is evolving. The new guidance and changes to the TA6 Property Information Form actually provide an opportunity for surveyors to work with their local agents to ensure that prospective buyers have the correct information to empower them to make well-informed decisions with confidence. Could this include a ‘survey up front’?

Now, for some, this might bring back memories of Home Information Packs and Home Condition Surveys. But things have changed—not least technology—and looking at the messaging on the Arnold and Baldwin “Sellsmart” website, which is aimed at agents, not at private homeowners, there are some clear and positive reasons to embrace these changes, especially in a market with a greater number of cash purchasers. 

So, could we at last be on the cusp of quicker and more intelligent property sales?

Useful resources:

The Law Society
NTSELAT Guidance on Property Sales and Lettings
NTSELAT Material Information in Property Listings (Sales) Guidance for Estate Agents