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State moves to tighten rules on who can advertise apartments

The Real Estate Board of New York is urging its residential members to rally behind proposed regulations that would police who gets to advertise apartment listings and how.

The state’s Board of Real estate last week voted to require residential brokerage firms to obtain permission to display another company’s exclusive and to include the word “advertisement” when a broker is paying to be associated with the listing.

The advertising changes come two years after REBNY filed a formal complaint with the New York Department of State – which has the authority to regulate statewide real estate advertising – over a so-called Premier Agent program available on listings giant, Streeteasy.

At the time, president John Banks claimed, “The program violates the New York advertising regulations which prohibit advertising a listing that is subject to an exclusive with another firm, as well as requires specific disclaimers.”

JOHN BANKS

Last Friday, REBNY claimed a victory when the State Real Estate Board of New York approved new real estate advertising provisions. “This is a victory after two years of work by REBNY to fight for greater clarity in real estate advertisements for brokers and agents,” said Banks in an email to members.

“The new provisions will help eliminate consumer confusion caused by advertisements which failed to properly identify the roles of the brokers—particularly on third party real estate portals.

“We commend the Department of State for responding to our request for action and for adopting these important provisions that will not only benefit REBNY members, but also the residential brokerage community in New York State.”

The provisions are subject to a 60-day consultation during which REBNY is urging its members to provide feedback to the DOS and send in their written comments in favor of the new provisions.

The new provisions are specifically geared to update state real estate advertising regulations because of the proliferation of internet real estate advertising and try to help eliminate consumer confusion caused by third party portals and other advertising which fails to properly identify the roles of brokers.

According to REBNY, the board has received many complaints from both agents and consumers who appeared at apartment showings or received calls from agents who they had not intended to contact — including out-of-state agents, who “purchased zip codes” as part of lead generation programs.

A spokesman for Streeteasy said, “We support real estate advertising that provides clarity and transparency for consumers, and fair rules for agents and brokers. We will continue to be engaged during the public comment period and fully expect to comply with the final regulations.

“In the meantime, we will continue to provide an excellent product to both consumers and agents across New York.

After the comment period, the DOS will release an advisory opinion providing guidance as to how agents and brokers can comply with the new provisions.

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