A blogger has highlighted over the weekend how reluctant the UK’s industry regulators are to deal with apparent ‘ghost’ rental properties on Rightmove.
It details how late last year one branch of a leading London estate agent was suspected of re-listing properties that had already been let.
After being contacted, Rightmove blamed the problem on a technical hitch within the agency’s property software, and that the portal had removed them manually.
The blogger’s unnamed source, which includes screenshots of both Rightmove’s and Portico’s listings, also presented the information to local and national Trading Standards but was told the issue related to lettings and therefore could not be investigated.
The re-listed properties were also referred to the Advertising Standards Authority, which treated the adverts as an informal issue and declined to launch a full investigation.
In a letter issued by the portal concerning the re-let rental properties, one of its data quality team says: “Following feedback on how property’s update through the agent’s software to Rightmove, I have raised this directly with the agent’s software provider.
“It has been found from our own technical investigations that the properties were being removed internally by the agent but were not coming off Rightmove.
“The software provider has been testing this and confirmed the technical issue that they are causing the agent to have.”
Rightmove says in the blog that it is now monitoring Portico’s listings to ensure the problem does not re-occur.
Portico has been contacted by The Negotiator but has not to date replied to the points made in the blogger.