The Real Deal New York

State passes overhaul of broker advertising rules

Long-awaited regulations address online advertising and agent teams
By Adam Pincus | May 01, 2013 01:30PM

The most significant overhaul of New York agent and broker advertising rules in a generation was approved last week and will go into effect Jan. 2.

The New York State Board of Real Estate voted on April 24 to approve an eight-page set of new regulations, replacing outdated guidelines from 1994 that covered a mere two pages.

The main impact of the new rules will be to clarify advertising in the age of the Internet, as well as how to define and describe teams in relation to brokerage firms, real estate insiders said.

For example, brokers, salespersons and teams are permitted to have their own websites, but their supervising broker must authorize the sites, and remain responsible for the content.

In addition, the words “group,” “associate” and “realty” are prohibited when describing a team. That word is the only one that can be used to describe such an association of brokers and agents.

“The question of the Internet, blogs, Facebook and Twitter are all covered,” said Anthony Gatto, director of legal services for the New York State Association of Realtors, who consulted with the board on the measures.

“[The new regulations] tried to be a little more proactive, to encompass future technology as well,” he added.

Currently, there is very little guidance explaining advertising in the digital age, as well as how to describe teams so as not to confuse the public, Gatto said.

The 14-member board includes Diane Ramirez, president of Halstead Property; Eileen Spinola, senior vice president of the Real Estate Board of New York; and Duncan MacKenzie, CEO of the NYSAR. The board advises the New York State Department of State and designs regulations for real estate brokers and salespersons.

“The industry as a whole is happy with [the new regulations]. [There] was a need to update them,” said Neil Garfinkel, an attorney who serves as residential counsel to REBNY and worked with the board on the regulations.

“The teams — if you talk about that in the in context of advertising — there were so many different machinations of team names,” he said. “So now there is going to some good clarity with respect to how you can hold yourself out as a team, and what the name is going to be.”

In addition to passing the regulations, the board also received the latest figures on license complaints from the state.

John Goldman, a license investigator with the state’s Division of Licensing Services, said the number of complaints in the first quarter had fallen by about 28 percent, to 190 from 264 the same period a year earlier.

  • Raging Realtor

    The small firms and start ups are screwed big time.

    • curious


      • willem

        The no advertising open listings for one.

        • Broker

          The reason open listings can no longer be advertised is because brokers and agents ignored the law tht said when you advertise an open listing your must indicate in the description that it is an open listing. Less ethical, or some might say sleazy, brokers advertised open listings as bait to get you in. Is it a bit much? Probably. All the state had to do was enforce existing laws. However, it is much easier to say that if you do not play by our rules we’ll simply end the game.

          • LLC Broker

            Where does it say no more advertising of open listings? Also, where in article 12-A does (existing) does a provision outline the law on advertising rules on an open listing where it states that you must disclose it is an open listing in the ad? There is a difference between state law and REBNY policy.

          • LLC Broker

            Read the actual language of the administrative law provisions before you say NO advertising Open Listings. It actually makes it better for ethical brokerages that believe in following the law as apposed to brokers that say their ethical because their a member of REBNY:

          • Raging Realtor

            Im referring to the rules that will be implemented as of Jan 2014.

          • LLC Broker

            Your statement is inaccurate about it being illegal to advertise an open listing. See the proposed language that is supposed to be implemented from the link I posted above. It’s not restricting people from being able to advertise open listings. They will still be able to. It just reinforces what already exists and defines the requirement for permission and it also places te vicarious liability more indepth on the broker in ensuring legit advertising as we are required to perform full disclosure from the very beginning. Many agencies try and manipulate the system ad post blind bait and switch ads which misrepresent at the same time. All violations of te law. The new structure of the law set te stage to more effectifly penalize those that mislead and violate the law including those that do by owner ads and inflate their names with nous titles and Group names. Good job On this one DOS!!

          • Raging Realtor

            Good luck in getting major LLs to let you advertise their listings. Fortunately I dont have to do this anymore. LL’s will have to start advertising their own listings, which most dont. I agree their are a few agents that bait and switch, but very few. But I see your point. But once again, you’ll see many small firms closing over this.

          • LLC Broker

            The way the language is written, it states that the broker must only have permission to advertise the property I the landlord. The landlord can still grant permission to the broker by providing the broker with a blast of the listings and still a simple note granting such permission to advertise respective properties.

  • Raging Realtor

    Halstead Property President Diane Ramirez, Eileen Spinola of REBNY… These two are on the board of the Real Estate dept at the DOS. They make the policy and the DOS listens. Watch and see. Halstead agents were just reprimanded for renting illegal apts. Nothing happened. No advertising open listings any more period. This was just a REBNY thing, now its a DOS policy.