OAR Directors vote to maintain Ohio’s advertising rules
On January 27, 2016
By Bob Fletcher, OAR Chief Executive Officer
The Ohio Association of REALTORS Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved maintaining the state’s advertising rule requiring that the broker’s name be displayed in equal prominence with that of the salesperson at its meeting during the organization’s Winter Conference in Columbus, Jan. 17-19.
The decision mirrored the findings brought forth from a special task force formed last year that conducted a comprehensive review of the equal prominence advertising provisions in Ohio license law in response to proposed legislation that sought to alter the current rules and allow brokers to create their own policy. The task force, comprised of an equal number of brokers and agents all from different brokerages, explored the rule and its impact on the industry and consumer. Additionally, the group sought input from the Anne Petit, superintendent of the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing, and the Ohio Real Estate Commission as part of its deliberations.
Among the key issues considered:
- Current Ohio license law states that “the name of the brokerage shall be displayed in equal prominence with the names of the salesperson in the advertisement.” Further, team advertising must “include in the advertisement the name of the broker or brokerage under whom the licensee is licensed and displayed in equal prominence with the team name and with the name of the salesperson in the advertisement.”
- Reviewed the National Association of REALTORS’ Code of Ethics as it relates to disclosure of the broker’s name in advertising. Specifically, Standard of Practice 12-5 that says “REALTORS shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that REALTOR’s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent matter.’
- While agents typically bear the financial cost of their marketing, the existing equal prominence rule assures the public is aware of the agent’s affiliation with a broker, as the responsible party and increases the broker’s involvement in the event of a consumer concern. Additionally, the lack of a clear, objective and enforceable broker identification can mislead the consumer, especially with regard to teams, which are not licensed entities.
- With respect to teams, eliminating the requirement for equal disclosure of the brokerage name could result in the public being misled to believe that the team is a separately licensed business entity. The Ohio Real Estate Commission, as well as other states, have identified this as an issue of concern.