I recently unleashed a letting agency to assist with hunting down suitable tenants for a property that was shortly due to be vacant. Clearly a glutton for extreme punishment.
The agent used all the usual marketing tactics you’d expect, including advertising on the biggest property portals (e.g. Rightmove, Zoopla), shop window, and the local newspapers.
Fortunately, and rather satisfyingly, I managed to find better tenants myself before they were able to, which meant I didn’t require their services.
So why the hell are they still advertising my property two weeks later?
A few weeks after I had found tenants and effectively cut my ties with the letting agent, I noticed my property was still being advertised on Rightmove and Zoopla, available for rent. Curiosity then grabbed me by the throat, so I decided to take a 5 minute stroll to the agent’s branch and peruse the shop-window.
No real surprise! The property was also plastered on their shop window like a prized mule, still available for rent.
When I got home I fired-off a friendly (but firm) email to the agent, kindly requesting for the marketing to stop because my tenant had reported people sniffing around the property, presumably innocent bystanders caught up in the misleading sales pitch. Of course, my tenant reported no such thing, I just wanted to create some urgency.
They promptly replied with an apology (which was nice of them) and assured me it would be removed promptly.
Okay, wonderful. No harm, no foul.
I check in on the situation two weeks later.
Oh, you guessed it.
Said property was still being paraded around like an award winning aubergine at the local farmers market.
The reality was, the false advertising wasn’t causing me or my tenant any hardship. However, the situation still managed to crawl up my nose and cause a kerfuffle:
- They’re advertising a property knowing it’s unavailable
- I’ve asked them to remove it and given them ample time to do so, yet they still haven’t taken action even though they assured me they would.
It’s the principle, right?
I’m starting to feel a bit invincible here.
Is this payback because I ended up finding tenants myself and not using their service or just regular practise by snake oil agents? My spidey senses tell me it’s the latter reason, but it wouldn’t surprise me it was the other.
Either way, I do understand why agents artificially inflate their stock:
- It generates more enquiries
- It makes them and the market look more active
- They can still use the enquiries generated by the unavailable properties
I get it, I get it!
But still… it’s wrong and misleading.
Ultimately, they have left me with no choice. It was time to take it up a notch. Let’s see how they enjoy wiping off eggs from their precious misleading shop window that’s plagued with false hope and lies.
No, I’m kidding.
I sent them another email, only this one was a little more aggressive and a little less friendly, and I may have also told them that my tenant almost called the police on someone that was snooping around in the back garden, trying to get a closer look at the property because they thought it was available. While typing the email, I may have pressed my keyboard keys a little harder than normal, too. That will show them!
Hallelujah! Three weeks after my property became unavailable and after sending two emails (which contained a pack of lies), my property is officially off the market to the outside world.
Agents, cut this bullshit out.
Has this happened to you? Speak to me!
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.