Let Agreed? New guidance for property advertising

21 August 2023

Trading Standards has issued new guidance for listing a property in a bid to reduce incorrect descriptions.

If you wanted to sum up “renting” in one image, it’s likely you’d think of a “to let” sign in front of a property. But that’s not the only phrase you’d see on a prospective rental property. You may see or use signs such as “Spoken for”, “Rented subject to contract”, “To rent”, “Let by”, and much more.

In August 2023, the National Tradings Standards Estate & Letting Agency issued new guidance for property listing terms, which aims to “reduce unnecessary confusion for property agents, consumers, and other organisations in the property industry” .

The current situation

The terms used across advertisements, marketing boards and on property portal listings can vary. However, they must still follow the laws of marketing and advertising, which is further enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority.

As a principle, all marketing and advertising must:

  • Provide an accurate description of the product or service
  • Be legal, decent, truthful, honest, and socially responsible

It is therefore an agent’s requirement to ensure that a property is marketed correctly and accurately. As Property Industry Eye reports, delays in updating a property’s status or using an incorrect description can lead to a breach in an agency's legal obligations.

What's on the new preferred word list?

The National Tradings Standards Estate & Letting Agency has outlined the following phrases as preferred terms for agents to use. However, these are not legal obligations and use of the terms remains voluntary.

While the guide has the full list of terms, here are a few highlights:

  • New on the market – A property that has not been advertised since the last sale or
    let of that property. This description should only be used for a short period of time.
  • Under Offer: A property where an offer has been received which is under consideration by the landlord, but the property is normally still on the market, i.e., further offers may be made dependent upon the landlord’s written instructions. This description should only be used until the offer is accepted or declined.
  • Let Agreed: A property where a landlord has, in principle, agreed to enter into a rental agreement with a prospective renter, subject to further checks and referencing. The use of this term is not subject to a relevant person having received a holding deposit from the prospective renter.
  • Let: A property where a landlord and renter have entered into a binding rental agreement.

Read more: Expert Q&A: Material Information, Consumer Protection, and more

The information is guidance only, and not intended as legal advice. 

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