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OPDA urges agents to adopt tech and open data to integrate new guidance

  • 05/12/2023
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OPDA urges agents to adopt tech and open data to integrate new guidance
The Open Property Data Association (OPDA) has lent its support to the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELA) material information requirements for listings and said technology and open data will make compliance with the guidance easy for agents.

The NTSELA released updated material information requirements last week. Part B concerns information that should be covered for all properties, such as property type and construction, with Part C only needed if the property is impacted by an issue such as flood risk or accessibility issues.

Agents are required under Consumer Protection Regulations not to leave out material information on property listing but there has not been a defined list of basic information, which OPDA said leaves agents open to enforcement action.

OPDA said that its property data trust framework covered material information Part A, which includes council tax band or rate and property price, and the other information requirements would be mapped into to open data scheme.

The trade body urged sellers and estate agents to appoint a conveyancer before or on listing so the material information, such as the title, can be checked by an expert and the searches ordered as early as possible.

Several OPDA member firms have digital property pack solutions that provide this information, with the provenance attached to ensure compliance for parts A, B and C.

Maria Harris (pictured), chair of OPDA, said: “This is another key milestone on our journey to digitising the home buying process. This new guidance will improve transparency and interoperability, creating a better customer and user experience.

“Brokers, lenders, valuers and the buyer’s conveyancer will have the information they need from verified sources at the beginning of the transaction. This will mean fewer nasty surprises too late in the process, fewer fall throughs and delays. The guidance should also mean better protection for the consumer.

“Estate agents, conveyancing firms and their software providers can get support from OPDA on how to implement the tools to meet these standards and to make the data shareable between the transaction participants.”

Kieran Witt, founder and CEO of Kotini, an OPDA member, said: “Whilst some agents will see this as more work, many will see it as an opportunity. Being upfront with all the material information will mean agents are more likely to find the right buyer – and keep them.

“Avoiding surprises later in the transaction that might make the buyer think twice. And with all the new information for buyers to consider, the need for a trusted, experienced property professional has never been greater, excellent news for buying agents.

“Existing tech will make compliance with the new guidance easy. With the use of open property data, it can do much more than just keep agents compliant. Using the Property Data Trust Framework makes sure that material information gathered for the agent can be relied upon in the conveyancing process to save everyone time and cost.”

Sián Hemming-Metcalfe, operations director of OPDA member Inventory Base, said: “Since the release of Part A, there’s been hesitation to fully adopt the processes needed to not only speed up the collection of data but also to integrate it within everyday operations.

“Now we’re armed with the full picture, agents need to act now, embrace and start to leverage the right tech to help create, capture and share information. This is where the OPDA can really help, as the right guidance can be the difference between a stumble or a confident stride through the property landscape.”

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