Without advertising, Texas realtors would be hard-pressed for ways to generate clients. Yet those licensed to practice real estate are not permitted by the state to simply release any sort of advertisement they may want to. Rules and regulations pertaining to realtor advertising have been established, ostensibly for the protection of the public. The Texas Real Estate Commission reports that among the most frequent complaints it receives against realtors are violations of these advertising rules. And such complaints can lead to a realtor's license being at risk of censure or revocation.
Advertisements are classified as written or oral statements that are meant, in this case, to convince a member of the public to utilize the services offered by a licensed realtor. Texas realtors seeking to put forth an advertisement are required to meet the standards set forth by the Texas Real Estate Commission rules, as well as the National Association of Realtors' Code of Ethics and the Texas Real Estate License Act, and other state and federal laws that apply in particular circumstances.
The overall regime is a complicated and wide-ranging one, but a few important rules deal with the concept of "dishonesty" in advertising.
In Article 12 of its Code of Ethics, the National Association of Realtors makes it clear that "Realtors shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. Realtors shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional."
This concept carries through to the Texas Occupations Code, which in section 1101.652 states, "The commission may suspend or revoke a license issued under this chapter or take other disciplinary action authorized by this chapter if the license holder while acting as a broker or salesperson:
- publishes or causes to be published an advertisement, including an advertisement by newspaper, radio, television, the Internet, or display, that misleads or is likely to deceive the public, tends to create a misleading impression, or fails to identify the person causing the advertisement to be published as a licensed broker or agent[.]"
Moreover, the Texas Real Estate Commission has adopted this objection to deception in its Rule section 535.154, the text of which describes deceptive or misleading advertising to include,
- "Advertising that is inaccurate in any material fact or in any way misrepresents any property, terms, values, services, or policies;
- Advertising a property that is subject to an exclusive listing and agreement without the permission of the listing broker and without disclosing the name of the listing broker unless the listing broker has expressly agreed to waive disclosure;
- Failing to remove an advertisement about a listed property within 10 days after closing or termination of a listing agreement, unless the status is included in the advertisement;
- An advertisement by a salesperson which identifies the salesperson as a broker; or
- Advertising a property in a manner that creates a reasonable likelihood of confusion regarding the permitted use of the property."
If you find your license to practice real estate at risk as the result of a complaint claiming your are in violation of an advertising rule, give us a call. The attorneys at BERTOLINO LLP are experienced professional license defense attorneys. We are prepared to represent you in any investigation, legal hearing, or proceeding regarding your license.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients, we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Our honest, experienced attorneys will fight aggressively on behalf of your license and reputation.
Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.