Legally speaking: Websites & compliance with Ohio license law
On June 3, 2013
By Peg Ritenour, OAR Vice President of Legal Services/Administration
The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal issues — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work “within the law,” we’ve launched a new “Legally Speaking…” feature on the OAR Daily Buzz that will spotlight some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This one involves website concerns…
Q: My agents are starting to develop their own individual websites. Are there any license law requirements I need to make sure they follow? As a broker am I responsible for my agents’ websites?
A: If your agents are marketing real estate or their services as a licensee, their websites are considered advertising under Ohio’s license law. As such, the websites must comply with the advertising requirements. There are also specific provisions regarding internet advertising that must be also be followed. These requirements are:
- The brokerage name be included on every “page” of the web site. (A page is defined as one that may or may not scroll beyond the borders of the screen.)
- The agent’s name cannot be more prominent than that of the brokerage.
- Any outdated or expired information must be updated within 14 days.
- The website must indicate the date on which the information was last updated.
As a broker, the Ohio Division of Real Estate considers you to be ultimately responsible for all advertising that your agents do. Therefore, it is essential that you review your agents’ websites to assure that they are in compliance with the license law.
For more information on advertising, visit the legal section of OAR’s website.