The advertisement which offered a house for sale in Waterford said:
Architect designed single storey residence 2,700 sq.ft. (250 sq.m) with airy and spacious light filled rooms standing on approx. 0.75 of an acre. BER – F.”
The advertisement also featured the dimensions of the rooms within the house, alongside photographs of some of the rooms in question.
The complainant said that the photographs of the rooms illustrated were grossly inaccurate and misleading. While the photographs portrayed a house in good order, on viewing the premises, the complainant said the house was dirty and had not been lived in or looked after for years.
The advertisers said they were instructed to offer the property for sale in 2013, prior to this it had been on the market with a different agent for two to three years. They had been provided with images of the property by the vendors, which they put on their website to advertise the property for sale. They said that the images provided had been taken on a lovely sunny day and portrayed the property, its garden and sea views in a highly appealing way.
The advertisers said that the property has been unoccupied since it went on the market and its internal appearance had deteriorated. The owners had now, however, cleaned and tidied the house somewhat and rearranged the furniture in some of the rooms. They said that the property now presented well and looked more or less the same as it was in the original images, apart from the roof which was re-roofed in 2015.
The advertisers said that the brochure had made no reference to the condition of the house and it was up to prospective customers to satisfy themselves to the accuracy of the particulars involved, which did not form part of any contract.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. In this case the Committee considered that if the property had deteriorated over a period of time, then the photographs of the property should have been updated accordingly, to ensure that those interested in viewing the property were not misled. The Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.9 of the Code.
The advertising should be updated, when necessary, to reflect an accurate description of the property while it remains on the market.