Rightmove has pledged to encourage estate agents to divulge more property information on listings following complaints from leasehold campaigners about a lack of detail on tenure.
Activists from the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) wrote to the portal to complain that users are unable to search for properties by tenure such as freehold, commonhold or leasehold, and claimed the lack of this information on listings does not comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
Under CPR, agents have a duty to divulge anything that might affect a consumer’s transactional decision – which could be simply deciding whether to ask the agent for more information or to request a viewing.
Leaseholds have been in the spotlight because of high service charges and ground rents which can mount up over the years and blight future sales. There are also concerns over restrictions on what can be done with leasehold properties.
The sale of leaseholds, particularly houses, has been called a scandal and the Government has promised to act.
Katie Kendrick, founder of the NLC, said: “Rightmove’s advertising description of the property for sale can affect consumers’ transactional decisions and I believe there is not enough information about tenure of each of your properties.”
She told Rightmove: “I urge you to ensure that property tenure is a basic and mandatory requirement of any property advertisement on your website.”
Rightmove said in a response to the complaint that all agents have the ability to add tenure information but it was looking at ways more can be encouraged to actually do so.
A statement from the portal to EYE said: “There is a field where all agents can add the details of the tenure of a property in the description of their Rightmove listings and we encourage all of our estate agency customers to do this in line with the guidance from industry bodies.
“We’ve also been working with The Leasehold Advisory Service and have added more information on Rightmove about the difference between buying a leasehold and freehold property to help prospective buyers.”
None of the three main portals lets users search for property by freehold, leasehold or commonhold.