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Legally speaking: When can you advertise another broker’s listing?

By Lorie Garland, OAR Assistant Vice President of Legal Services

The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal questions — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work within the law, our “Legally Speaking” series spotlights some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This one involves ensuring compliance with Ohio’s advertising rules…

Q: Do the license law provisions allow my brokerage to advertise a property that is for sale, but is not listed with our company? Could the ad include a FSBO property, a property that is listed with another brokerage or a HUD property?

A: The advertising rule, OAC Section 1301:5-1-02, specifically addresses advertising a property that is not listed with your brokerage. This rule requires a licensee to obtain the written permission of the owner or the owner’s authorized agent, and if the property is listed, to include in the advertisement the listing broker’s name. The rule also requires the listing broker’s name to be included in the ad in the same or larger size type as the type used to describe the property.

Therefore, on a FSBO property you would need the written permission of the owner/title holder to advertise the property. To ensure the ad does not give the impression that the property is listed with your brokerage the property should be identified as unlisted or FSBO.

To advertise a property that is listed with another brokerage the license law requires you to obtain the written permission of the owner/title holder or the listing broker. While the license law implies that you could contact the owner directly to obtain such consent, Article 16 of the REALTOR Code of Ethics, would prohibit this. Standard of Practice 16-13 specifically requires that all dealings must  be carried on through the listing broker/agent, unless the listing broker/agent consents otherwise. Thus, to avoid an ethics violation, you need to contact the listing broker/agent to obtain written consent to advertise their listing or to contact their client. As stated above, if such consent is given,  the ad must include the listing broker’s name in at least the same size type as is used to describe the property.

The same advertising requirements apply to a HUD owned property. Written permission must be obtained from HUD (or the asset management company assigned to that property) or from the listing broker if the property has been listed. If the listing broker/agent consents, the name of the listing broker must be included in the advertisement. There is no exception to this requirement  merely because it is a HUD property.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking