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Legally speaking: Can a team name be on a yard sign?

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 staying compliant with license law when a team advertises…

Q: I have three agents who work together as a team. Their yard signs contain the brokerage name and logo and a sign rider with their team name, “The Jones Team.” Sally Jones is the team leader. I know teams are not licensed by the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. Does the license law allow a team name on a yard sign? Does the law require the brokerage phone number on the sign?

A: The license law does allow a team name on a yard sign, or any other form of advertising for that matter. The license law contains a Team Advertising Rule that provides the team advertising requirements. One requirement is to include the brokerage name. The Jones Team yard sign meets this requirement.

The license law requires team advertising to include the name of at least one licensed team member. This requirement can be met if the team name itself includes the full licensed name of one team member. The Jones Team name does not contain the full name of a licensed team member. Therefore, to comply with the law the yard sign must include Sally Jones’ name or the full licensed name of one of the other licensed team members.

The team advertising rule also requires the brokerage name to be as prominent as the team name and any agent’s name in the advertising. The Jones Team name and the licensed team member’s name cannot be more prominent then the brokerage name.

While the license law requires the brokerage name in all advertising, it does not require the brokerage phone number. However, as a company policy a brokerage could require the brokerage phone number in all advertising, including yard signs.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking