Legal Issues With Team Names

The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) has been strictly monitoring and scrutinizing the use of team names in advertisements as it aims to unify enforcement of statewide standards.

Team name regulations were born from the increased usage of “teams” within real estate brokerages. The prevalence of team names can make it difficult for the public to immediately know the responsible broker and agent handling the subject transaction. DRE guidelines require this information to be readily apparent in all public facing marketing.

California Law on Team Names

Business and Professions Code §§10159.5-10159.7, after amended by Senate Bill 710 in 2016, provided that a qualified “team name” must meet the following criteria:

  • It must include the surname of at least one of the licensed salespersons or broker-associates affiliated with the team
  • It must contain the terms “associates,” “group,” or “team
  • The team name cannot suggest independence from the broker
  • The team name cannot include the word “real estate broker,” “real estate brokerage,” “broker” or “brokerage”
  • It may include the term “Realty” or “Real Estate” ONLY IF the other requirements are met

Advertising Standards for Teams

All “team” solicitations must abide by the DRE’s advertising and marketing standards of 2018. This means they must include the responsible broker’s identity and display the licensee’s name and license number in a conspicuous manner. All print or electronic media and “for sale” signs must include a team licensee’s name displayed in a conspicuous manner and must also include the license number of at least one of the licensed members of the team. The name of the brokerage under which the licensed members of the team are a part must be displayed as prominently and conspicuously as the team name in all advertising. The name of the responsible broker must be the name used to conduct brokerage business in general and cannot be an agent-owned Fictitious Business Name (FBN/DBA).

“Solicitation materials” include all printed, electronic (internet), social media and all first point of contact solicitation materials, including but not limited to website names, business cards, stationary, advertising flyers, advertisements on television, in print, or electronic media, “for sale,” rent, lease, “open house,” and directional signs, and other materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer. However, “for sale,” “open house,” rent, lease, and directional signs that contain no licensee information or only the broker’s information are acceptable.

For more information, please visit the fact sheet provided by CAR.

Posted on February 6, 2020 at 10:59 pm
Intero | Category: Pivot

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