When advertising properties for sharers there are two areas where advertising could be regarded as misleading:
- Quoting the rent on a weekly basis when in fact the rent is payable per calendar month. It is not unreasonable for an applicant looking at a rent quoted at £250 per week to assume this works out at £1,000 per month rather than the actual figure of £1,083.33 per calendar month.
- Quoting the rent on a ‘per person’ basis when the tenancy is in fact for the property and not just for a room. It is quite common for a tenant on receiving an arrears letter to complain to the agent that they have paid ‘their share’ of rent and that it is another tenant who has not paid. They are seemingly unaware that with joint and several liability their ‘share’ is 100% of the rent under the tenancy.
It would seem letting agents advertising student property on this basis in their area is quite common practice. However this must be regarded as misleading unless the dwellings advertised are rooms with a separate tenancy and the rent is demanded on a weekly basis.
Warwick Trading Standards who are the leading authority relating to residential property sales and lettings have recently confirmed that it is indeed misleading to market a property quoting the rental figures on a per person per week basis if that is not strictly the case.
It would be fine to market the property quoting the figures weekly if the monthly figure is also shown. If the property is marketed as whole then the whole rent that is payable must be shown.