RLA Guide to Advertising Your Property

Key Points / Executive Summary

On November 1st 2013, new regulations came into force requiring property advertisements to provide consumers with information on non-optional fees, often linked with letting agents.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Compliance Team has sent a guidance document to the RLA to ensure that landlords and letting agents are aware of a recent ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA ruling dictates that any additional fees on a property – for example admin fees or background checks – must be acknowledged reasonably with the property being advertised.

The need for this comes off the back of a recent ASA ruling, where: “The complainant objected that the ads were misleading because they did not include a compulsory administration charge”.

Read more about the case here

This guide will provide you with practical advice from the CAP, how to deal with the ASA rulings and how to advertise properties accordingly depending on the media you use.

Introduction

An estate agent on rightmove.co.uk has brought on a new code of advertising practice that landlords and letting agents should be aware of to avoid legal difficulties. The plaintiff in question essentially argued that a letting agent had misled them because they had not included compulsory costs in the advertising for the property; in this case it was a compulsory administration charge.

Administration charges are not uncommon, especially with letting agents. However, the ASA quote Clause 3.19 of the CAP Code which reads:

"If a tax, duty, fee or charge cannot be calculated in advance, for example, because it depends on the consumer's circumstances, the marketing communication must make clear that it is excluded from the advertised price and state how it is calculated".

Point 6 under ‘New Requirements’ states that it is not enough to merely suggest there are additional fees; point 7 clarifies by saying that you must make it easy for consumers to realise there will be add-ons and provide them with enough information to calculate these prices if it is not a set price.

Ramifications

This situation has created a precedent and by November 1st 2013 if you are advertising a property the ASA requires you to make it clear: where non-optional fees and charges exist, if it is not possible to calculate in advance, provide the consumer with enough information to “…establish easily how further charges would be calculated.”

Click next to continue to read the RLA’s guide to advertising your property. The following pages will include information on the new requirements as a result of the decision and examples of advertising property.

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