Continuing with violations of Alabama License Law that result in disciplinary action, I would like to focus on section §36-27-36 (a) (5) which states, “Pursuing a continued and flagrant course of misrepresentation or the making of false promises through agents or salespersons or any medium of advertising or otherwise.” This violation deals with continuing to violate a statute after learning that a licensee has been violating a licensing laws. Other words, a person knows better but they keep doing the same thing regardless. You will notice that this violation also refers to misrepresentation and making false promises that we referred to in my last blog; specifically section §34-27-36 (a) (4).
Additionally, point (5) specifies agents (Brokers) and salespersons (licensees). This puts both on the same level according to the law. Brokers are responsible for all actions of their sales force, but the licensee is also responsible for their own actions. Even though this point lists advertising, it would include any misrepresentation or false promise made about any medium that violates Alabama License Law in general. Advertising is of particular interest, especially since we are now working in the Cyber Space age.
In the appendix of the Alabama License Law ( the very last option) of the Alabama License Law under “ARELLO Best Practices Internet Guidelines” (part of Statutory Law) requires that numerous disclosures should be made. Real estate agents, however, choose not to make these disclosures. Just because they haven’t been caught, fined, or received disciplinary actions for violating these laws, they continue not to disclose certain require information. Therefore they could be found guilty of violating item # 5 above. For example, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, and many others, possess no disclosure of business name, location, and contact information which is required by Alabama License Law. The Alabama Real Estate Commission doesn’t have enough man-power to police every law so the licensees continue to violate the same laws over and over again. This can be construed as a continued, flagrant course of action. If a consumer reports a violation to the Commission, the Commission’s legal department will investigate the situation and bring the appropriate charges against the licensee if necessary.
Since I am talking about advertising violations, I would be amiss not to mention the following point which is section §36-27-36 (a) (6) that says, “Publishing or causing to be published any advertisement which deceives or which is likely to deceive the public, or which in any manner tends to create a misleading impression or which fails to identify the person causing the advertisement to be placed as a licensed broker or salesperson.” Alabama licensees must obtain permission to place a sign on a property that they have listed for sale, but are prohibited from placing signage on a property that they don’t have listed; even if they have permission from the land owner. This is misleading the consumer by misrepresenting that a property is for sale when it isn’t. Rarely but occasionally, a licensee will place a sign on a property to get exposure, but the Commission has a dim view of this violation and will hold the licensee liable for their actions. This violation, like most violations, will most probably constitute multiple violations that could result in reprimands, warnings, fines, suspension or provocation of license for each violation.
Since our responsibility is to protect the best interest of buying or selling consumers, licensees should make sure they know all state and federal laws and abide by them; all of them. This is what we get paid to do. We don’t want to do or say anything that could be construed as misleading or unethical.
Should you have specific questions concerning various issues, please let me know and I’ll research the answer for you. I also want to encourage you to subscribe to our “News & Updates” weekly report so you can stay abreast of issues that might affect you when buying or selling real estate. If you haven’t visited my website, please go to www.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and view previous articles.