I always find it refreshing when a law is enacted that actually creates clarity and has the best interest of the public in mind.
On May 12, 2016, Governor Nikki Haley signed into law a sweeping revision to the South Carolina Real Estate Licensee Law. The changes to South Carolina Code §40-57-10 et. al. will impact the way some Real Estate Agents practice their business effective January 1, 2017.
What prompted this new law was that the consumer was being misled in the advertising and promotion of " Real Estate Teams" working for a brokerage.
The Real Estate Commission and state legislature felt there was a significant problem with real estate teams misleading the public . The consumer was often confused and misled when seeing advertising by Real Estate Teams. This caused the public to believe that the team was a separate entity from the agency and the broker-in-charge. The State legislature was concerned some teams had no Broker in Charge supervision so the pending Commission regulations are designed to create greater supervision, and to eliminate confusion to the consumer.
Most importantly, the law requires all “team advertising” to contain the team name and the full name of the real estate brokerage firm in a clearly evident manner. State law has always required a licensee to include the name of their brokerage firm when advertising. The new language now includes “in a conspicuous way.” The law reiterates this requirement by holding the “Teams” accountable to promote that they are directly connected with the brokerage firm under which they work. The brokerage firm name must now be equal to or more prominent than the team name on all methods of advertising.
In the past, many teams did not show the consumer which brokerage they were affiliated with. The the legislature wanted to ensure there is no confusion between a real estate team and an agency in advertising.
One aspect of the new law will have the most lasting effect and greatest impact on licensees. The provision says “No team may imply that the team is a separate entity from the brokerage firm of its employment. Team names may not include the terms ‘realty’, ‘real estate’, ‘realtors’, or similar terms suggesting a brokerage.” This is obviously a problem for many teams in the State as they will no longer be able to use any word that denotes what they do. (content provided by Gary Pickren )
I am not sure, but I would think this new law might include individuals who use names other than their brokerage to market their real estate business, or individuals who call themselves a “team” when in fact they are not.
Regardless, I think the SC Real Estate Commission is going to be busy in 2017.
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