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Commission is cracking down on sharing lockbox combinations

By Carl Horst

A surprising – perhaps even bordering on troubling – trend appears to have surfaced throughout Ohio.

Specifically, a number of real estate licensees have been disciplined in the past six months by the Ohio Real Estate Commission for providing buyers with lockbox combinations so that they could apparently tour the property unescorted.

“This is a big no-no on a variety of levels,” said Peg Ritenour, OAR’s vice president of legal services & administration. “Not only does common-sense dictate that an agent should never provide anyone with a lockbox combination, but clearly the Division considers this to be a misconduct in violation of Ohio license law. If you give your buyer access to a lockbox so they can view a home without you being there – you risk being subjected to penalties.”

The Division has punished recent violators with the following:

  • Suspensions up to 10 days;
  • Fines;
  • A requirement to obtain additional continuing education.

“On top of the penalties that the Division has the authority to levy on you, providing a lockbox combination to a buyer also violates local MLS rules,” Ritenour added. “It doesn’t matter if the property is vacant or occupied…the rule of thumb must be to always be present at all showings and keep the numbers to a lockbox private in all instances!”

Tags: legal