Over the past 18 months, the ASA has seen a number of changes affecting the advertising of properties for sale and rent. Here, we cover the requirements for advertising the price of new build homes, how fees must be displayed for rental properties and how to advertise guide prices for houses sold at auction. If you work in the property sector, or create ads for those who do, read on for a quick tour of our property highlights.
Advertising new build homes
The Code states that advertised prices must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication. Although it’s common practice for developers to use photographs of new build homes finished to a high specification to advertise a new development, linking photographs of top-end finishes to unqualified low-end prices is likely to land advertisers in hot water. To avoid falling foul of the Code, advertisers should ensure that if they don’t possess images of the low-end specification (perhaps because the development is still in progress) the price is clearly prefixed with “from” and qualifying text is placed next to the image stating “image includes optional upgrades at additional cost”. If the cost of the additional upgrade is known, it should be made clear.
For more information about advertising new build homes, see ‘Property: New build and off plan homes’.
Advertising rental homes
In 2013 the ASA upheld a complaint about an ad for a rental property because it didn’t make clear that non-optional administration charges applied to the quoted price. There are a number of fees that letting agents charge tenants and the Code requires that these are made explicitly clear in advertising materials.
Supposing space isn’t limited (for example on a website, leaflet or press ad), advertisers should state that fees apply immediately below or close to the asking rent. On websites, further information about the fees can either be provided through a link or via a pop-up box.
If advertisers are extremely limited by space (for example in a sponsored search result or a tweet) it should be acceptable to state “2 beds from 1200pcm + fees”, provided the landing page clarifies how the fees are calculated.
For more information about advertising fees associated with rental properties, see ‘Compulsory costs and charges: Letting agents’.
Advertising property prices at auction
Following a recent ruling, the ASA requires that when advertising the price of properties for sale at auction the following are made clear:
- the definition of a guide price;
- the distinction between a guide price and a reserve price and;
- text making clear these prices are subject to change.
Finally, unless the guide price will be updated to reflect an increase in the reserve price, the copy should make clear that the guide price is an indication of the range within which the minimum sale price will fall.
For more information about advertising guide prices for property auctions, see our news story.
As always, the Copy Advice team are happy to advise you on non-broadcast advertising. For more information about the service we provide, please see our website.