Last year when I was looking for tenants I unleashed a snake-oil letting agency to assist me on the hunt. They used the usual marketing tactics- online property portals (i.e. Rightmove, Findaproperty etc.), their own shop window, the local newspaper and various other methods.
Fortunately, and rather satisfyingly, I managed to find better tenants than they did in a shorter period of time. Consequently, I didn’t end up using their services. My tie with the agency was cut.
A few weeks later, I noticed my property was still advertised for rent on Rightmove and their shop window. I told them to remove it, and they said they would.
I checked a few weeks later, and it was still being marketed. It didn’t really cause me any problems, but out of principle, I didn’t like the fact they were false advertising and failed to remove the advert after I had instructed them to.
Last week I was reminded of this practise because it’s currently happening to my friend. My friend was going to sell her property, but after struggling to sell for months on end, she decided to let instead. Even though she took the property off the market 4 months prior, the agency she used has still been marketing her property for sale. It’s not even a mere card in the window which has been mistakenly kept alive; it’s a full display about how the house has gone under offer in the last month. False advertising much?
My friend’s tenant noticed the advert in the paper and was concerned that her landlord was selling the property. It seemed especially plausible since the tenancy fixed term was due to end shortly. Fortunately, before the tenant transformed into a pissed-off missile, she called the landlord to find out what the deal was. The landlord explained that her tenancy was safe and what the agency was doing. While there was minimal damage caused, it could have easily got to the point where the tenant could have taken the advert literally (who wouldn’t?) and immediately looked for a new property to rent. Consequently, the landlord could have lost a tenant all because the agent wanted their books to look fat.
My friend has contacted the agency and has firmly instructed them to remove the property. Their response was,
we don’t have proof the property belongs to you, so we won’t remove it
Can you believe that bullshit? They were marketing the property for her in the first place.
I understand WHY agents do it:
- – A large spread of vacant properties in the books provide more opportunity for enquiries
- – An agency with plenty of properties on the window looks like they’re a busy agency
- – when they get enquiries for the “dummy” properties, they can offer “similar” properties that are available
While I understand the motive in their deceiving tactics, it doesn’t justify shit and it’s still annoying. It’s not entirely annoying because we all love to pounce on agents as soon as they make a sly/deceitful move, that’s just partially the reason. But moreover, it’s annoying because of the potential repercussions (as explained), which agents don’t seem to think nor care about. I’m pretty sure it’s a tactic embraced by many, many, many agents.
Anyone else noticed this practise? Further more, do any of you agents do this? It’s ok, you can admit it if you do. Your sins are partially forgiven simply for reading my blog.
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger; I'm not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information I share is my opinion based on my personal experiences as an active landlord, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.