Complementing the work we've done to tackle misleading advertising of letting agent fees, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today 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 CMAs 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 specific section on advertising which reinforces the requirement we set advertisers following our landmark ruling against Your Move in 2013. This set out our requirement for property ads to include costs and non-optional fees upfront, and for advertisers to make clear where non-optional fees can’t be calculated in advance, along with the information for a prospective tenant to establish easily the likely charge.
Our sister body the Committee of Advertising Practice, who’re responsible for writing, maintaining and giving advice on the advertising rules, issued a Letting Guidance Help Note in September last year to help advertisers comply with our ruling.
Since then we've seen a positive response from advertisers and continue to work with property portals, Trading Standards and lettings agents to explain the guidance so that it’s implemented correctly.
The CMAs guidance will help to remind letting agents of their responsibility to make sure their advertising sticks to the rules, and will ensure that prospective tenants have all the information they need in the first instance, to make an informed decision when looking for a new home.