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Rent guarantor service clarifies website after ad watchdog steps in

A rent guarantor operator has changed the wording of a description of its services on its own website following the intervention of the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA had received a complaint about the website of Housing Hands, a guarantor service aimed at student and professional renters. 

The complaint referred to wording on the website which stated: "NEED A UK RENT GUARANTOR? Whether you're a student or working professional, from just £295 our Rent Guarantor Service provides you with a secure UK based guarantor so you don't pay rent upfront. Apply today! HOW IT WORKS. APPLY ... QUICK QUOTE ... GUARANTEE. We become your Rent Guarantor so you can pay your rent monthly.”

Text on the Frequently Asked Questions page stated: "... Why do I need a co-signer? A co-signer is someone who will also sign the contract you have with Housing Hand. They may be someone who does not wish to, or does not meet the requirements to be your UK rent guarantor directly. Your co-signer is a second point of contact and is also jointly liable to repay Housing Hand for any monies paid out on your behalf during your tenancy ..."

The complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that Housing Hand would be the rent guarantor and would be liable for non-payment of rent - whereas they understood that liability for non-payment of rent was the responsibility of a co-signer.

A spokeswoman for the ASA told Letting Agent Today: “We contacted the advertiser about the complaint and they agreed to state clearly and prominently on the website that all guarantor agreements require a co-signer and also the obligations of the co-signer not only in relation to the tenant they are co-signing for, but also in relation to any other tenants who may occupy the property. Based on the agreed changes being implemented, we decided no further action was necessary and closed the case informally.”

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