The Guild of Property Professionals has been reminding its Members of how long an agent can advertise a property, after exchange of contracts or completion takes place? Paul Offley, Compliance Officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, says that there are several aspects that agents need to consider when it comes to advertising a property after it has been sold.
He adds that looking at The Property Ombudsman (TPO) Code of Conduct for Residential Sales, as well as the advice given by the Warwickshire Trading Standards on this very topic, the first thing to remember is that, however the agent is describing or advertising the property, it must reflect its true status. “If the transaction is somewhere between having an offer accepted and the exchange of contracts, the status of the property should reflect as Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC). Once contracts have been exchanged, then it should only be advertised as sold. It is vital that in all advertising, the status is correct and reflects the current stage of the property transaction,” says Offley.
According Offley, agents are entitled, if they wish, to continue advertising the property after contracts have exchanged, but there are a few good points that they need to be aware of when doing so. Firstly, to advertise as sold, the contracts need to have exchanged and it needs to be the agent who sold the property.
Agents should also consider any copyrights to the property images. “If the agent has taken the photographs, they would probably own the copyright, which should be clearly stated in the terms of business. However, what about if a professional photographer has taken the images or the seller has provided them? The agent would need to ensure they have copyright to reproduce those photos once the property has sold.
“And remember that where a property has sold, the agent requires the new owner’s permission if they are intending to use the images of the property,” Offley comments.
When it comes to office displays, Offley says that according to advice issued by Warwickshire Trading Standards an agent can advertise the property as sold for a defined period. The defined period is stated as being one month from the date that completion takes place, after which an agent shouldn’t be advertising the property. Again, within the one-month period, the agent would need to have the copyright of the images and the new owner’s permission to continue advertising the property.
A number of agents may wish at various times to run a marketing campaign which may reference properties sold in a given period of time, for example, sold in the last month, or sold in 2022, etc. This would be okay providing the time period of the sale is clear, so as to avoid any misleading advertising.
“So, to recap, agents need to ensure the property status is correct, they need to own the copyright of the images or have consent to use them and have the new owner’s consent to advertise their property,” Offley concludes.