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Watchdog upholds complaints made against rental property listing

Government watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld four complaints made against a Liverpool letting agency.

The complaints were made against a rental property listing submitted by Castle Estates, trading as Ashbury Residential.

The listing appeared on Rightmove in February this year and the complaints challenged whether several of the 'key features' listed were misleading.

Key features listed included an 'integrated audio system', 'gated access & TV', 'private drive', 'remote control gated access with CCTV', 'private secure car parking' and 'beautifully maintained grounds'.

The complainant, who had previously lived in the property, complained that four of the listed features were misleading and challenged whether they could be substantiated.

They said that the 'integrated audio system' and the 'remote control gated access with CCTV' did not work.

What's more, the former resident argued that it was misleading to promote a 'private drive' and 'private secure car parking' because the drive was shared with other residents.

The final complaint challenged the claim that the grounds were 'beautifully maintained'. The complainant said there was on-going building work in the grounds of the property.

The ASA reports that Ashbury Residential did not respond to its enquiries. The organisation says it was concerned with the agency's lack of response and apparent disregard for the advertising code.

"We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future," says an ASA spokesperson.

Complaints one and two - relating to the integrated audio system and remote control gated access system - were upheld. The ASA said that in the absence of any evidence to indicate that the systems were in fact working, both claims were misleading.

The third complaint concerning private parking was also upheld.

"In the absence of any evidence to show that there was a car parking space that only the tenant had access to, we concluded that the claim 'private and secure car parking' was misleading," says the ASA. 

Meanwhile, the fourth complaint - made against the claim that the building's grounds were 'beautifully maintained' - was also upheld.

"In the absence of information to indicate that no such building work was taking place and that the grounds were currently being maintained, we concluded that the claim was misleading," says a spokesperson for the advertising watchdog.

The ASA has ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form and has referred the matter to the Committees of Advertising Practice's compliance team.

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