The advertising watchdog has had to step in to a town’s letting agent wars after a dirty tricks row about poaching homes to rent.
Letting agent William H Brown, part of the Sequence chain, was chastised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for claiming they had tenants ready to move in to a property in Northampton marketed by local rivals Ashby Lowery.
Northampton County Council complained about mailshots sent to landlords on behalf of Ashby Lowery.
The first claimed that William H Brown had tenants ready to move into a buy to let home in Stanhope Road, Northampton, for rent through by Ashby Lowery.
The second made similar claims for a buy to let in Hambledon Rise, Northampton, willing to pay up to £695 a month rent for another home advertised by Ashby Lowery.
The complaint disputed William H Brown had prospective tenants ready to move into the homes.
The ASA requested information about tenants allegedly on William H Brown’s listings.
“We considered the ad implied the advertiser had at least one applicant who had recently expressed specific interest in living on or near Hambledon Rise, with a budget range of up to £695 per calendar month, and that therefore the recipient would have an increased likelihood of renting their property quickly, at close to £695, should they choose to do so through the advertiser,” said the ASA.
However, the agents could only supply the details of five prospective tenants who had shown an interest in homes in the general area and at a lower budget.
As a result, the ASA upheld the complaint and ordered Sequence (UK) Ltd trading as William H Brown not to claim that applicants were looking for properties on specific roads with specific budgets unless they held adequate documentary evidence to substantiate such claims.
The other complaint was rejected as William H Brown provided documents to show they had a prospective tenant for the home.
In a separate complaint, online letting agent The HMO Manager informally resolved an issue with the ASA. No details of the matter were revealed.
Advertising Watchdog Steps In Over Letting Agent's Dirty Tricks Bid to Poach Landlords – http://t.co/1yebMx9Czl
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) February 25, 2015