It is a violation of OAR 863-015-0125(2)(e): to advertise properties listed for sale by other licensees without that licensee’s written permission. Fortunately, the authorization can be contained in MLS, or other cooperative service, rules. Where MLS rules are the source of the permission to advertise, the advertising must be consistent with the MLS rules. Because of the truthfulness requirement, a licensee cannot alter any informational part of another licensee”s listing. Formatting changes, however, are allowed under state advertising rules if the information itself is still accurate and not misleading. Formatting may, however, be subject to separate MLS rules.
Modification of listing data is an issue because of Internet advertising. Remember, all of the rules concerning identification and truthfulness apply to Internet advertising. It is not necessary to identify yourself as a licensee in every electronic exchange of information when engaged in an ongoing exchange once the identification is made. A licensee with their own webpage can provide the required company information by having a clearly identified link to their real estate business”s homepage.
A licensee who owns or operates a site on the Internet is responsible for the accuracy of the information displayed. The licensee owner of the site must periodically review the advertising and marketing information displayed to make sure it is current and not misleading. “Current” depends on whether more current information is “reasonably available.”
Electronic display of property information raises a number of issues unique to the medium. Photographs, for instance, once in digital form, can be edited or enhanced. Editing and enhancement of digital photographs that materially changes the appearance of the property or changes or deletes significant features of the property is considered misleading. Similarly, the coding and programming used to display information on the Internet cannot, by “meta-tag” or otherwise, be used to misdirect Internet traffic from another site to your own. Virtual tours that feature the inside of the house should be used only with the written permission of the owner and the tour should be designed to protect the privacy of the owners and prevent misuse by the public. Click here for a sample permission form.