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18VAC135-20-190. Advertising by licensees.

A. Definitions. The following definitions apply unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context:

"Advertising" means all forms of representation, promotion and solicitation disseminated in any manner and by any means of communication to consumers for any purpose related to licensed real estate activity.

"Contact information" means telephone number or web address.

"Disclosure" in the context of electronic media advertising means (i) advertising by the firm that contains the firm's licensed name and the city and state in which the firm's main office or branch office is located or (ii) advertising by an affiliated licensee that contains the licensee's name, the name of the firm with which the licensee is active, and the city and state in which the licensee's place of business is located, and this disclosure shall be viewable on the main page or no more than one click away from the main page. "Disclosure" in the context of all other advertising means (i) advertising by the firm that contains the firm's licensed name or (ii) advertising by an affiliated licensee that contains the licensee's name and the name of the firm with which the licensee is active.

"Viewable page" means a page that may or may not scroll beyond the borders of the screen and includes the use of framed pages.

B. All advertising must be under the direct supervision of the principal broker or supervising broker, in the name of the firm and, when applicable, comply with the disclosure required by 54.1-2138.1 of the Code of Virginia. The firm's licensed name must be clearly and legibly displayed on all advertising.

C. Electronic media advertising.

1. Any electronic media advertising undertaken for the purpose of any licensed activity is subject to the provisions of this chapter.

2. All electronic media advertising that can be viewed or experienced as a separate unit (i.e., email messages and web pages) must contain disclosure that shall be viewable on the main page or is no more than one click away from the main page.

3. All electronic media listings advertised must be kept current and consistent as follows:

a. Electronic media listing information must be consistent with the property description and actual status of the listing. The licensee shall update in a timely manner material changes to the listing status authorized by the seller or property description when the licensee controls the electronic media site.

b. The licensee shall make timely written requests for updates reflecting material changes to the listing status or property descriptions when a third party electronic media listing service controls the website displaying the listing information.

D. Other advertising.

1.  For sale and for lease signs placed on the property shall include but not be limited to the firm's name and the firm's primary or branch office telephone number.

2. Business cards shall include but not be limited to the licensee's name, the firm name, and contact information.

E. The following activities shall be prohibited:

1. Implying that property listed by a licensee's firm and advertised by the firm or licensee is for sale, exchange, rent or lease by the owner or by an unlicensed person;

2. Failing to include a notice in all advertising that the owner is a real estate licensee if the licensee owns or has any ownership interest in the property advertised;

3. Failing to include the firm's licensed name on any sign displayed outside each place of business;

4. Failing to obtain the written consent of the seller, landlord, optionor or licensor prior to advertising a specific identifiable property; and

5. Failing to identify the type of services offered when advertising by general description a property not listed by the party making the advertisement.

Statutory Authority

54.1-201 and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-1 5.4, eff. July 15, 1987; amended, Virginia Register Volume 5, Issue 23, eff. October 1, 1989; Volume 7, Issue 14, eff. May 15, 1991; Volume 8, Issue 13, eff. May 15, 1992; Volume 11, Issue 18, eff. June 28, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 1999; Volume 19, Issue 12, eff. April 1, 2003; Volume 24, Issue 11, eff. April 1, 2008; Volume 31, Issue 26, eff. November 1, 2015.


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