The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published comprehensive guidance for lettings professionals to help improve their understanding of, and compliance with, consumer protection law.
This follows on from a report which was published by the Office of Fair Trading (the CMA’s predecessor), which raised concerns about a number of unsatisfactory practices affecting tenants, including unfair and ‘surprise’ fees and charges.
The CMA’s new guidance includes a section on advertising which reflects the requirements of the Advertising Codes, and builds on the interim guidance issued by CAP in September 2012:Interim guidance letter for upfront letting fees.pdf
It remains that advertisers are required to ensure that any property ads include all costs, including non-optional fees clearly and upfront. Where the non-optional fee cannot be calculated in advance, the advertiser must make the existence of a charge clear, note that it’s excluded from advertised asking rent and provide information to allow consumers to establish easily how the charge is calculated.
In addition, online property portals should ensure they have the appropriate templates in place to allow landlords and agents to capture all the information they need to ensure their ads aren't misleading.
Speak to a member of our CAP Copy Advice team for more information on how to comply with the Advertising Codes and the CMA's guidance on advertising.
Advice Online: Compulsory Costs and Charges - Letting Agents