Just when you thought you understood all the advertising DOs and DON’Ts, the advertising guidelines, developed by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), are revised.
RECO developed the guidelines to assist registrants in complying with the advertising requirements of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, and the Code of Ethics. The revisions, summarized below, are also intended to assist registrants.
Grouping of registrant information
Registrants with a common last name and designation may be identified jointly (e.g., John and Marie Smyth, Sales Representatives). Otherwise, each registrant and his/her designation must be listed separately.
Please note – registrants must still use their registered name and designation.
Contact information no longer required
Registrants/brokerages are no longer required to include in their advertisements a means by which they can be contacted. For example, the inclusion of a phone number, mailing address, or email is no longer required.
What contact number is used in an advertisement is up to the salesperson/broker, in accordance with the brokerage’s internal policies.
Advertisements must still prominently display the brokerage name, and the terms “brokerage” or “real estate brokerage” must accompany the brokerage name.
Use of the words team, group, crew
A registrant’s advertising is now permitted to use team, group, crew, etc. , to describe registrants working together. Terms that imply they are a separate business entity from the brokerage may not be used (e.g., Company).
If the advertising of team, group, crew, etc., includes a statement about business volumes, trading activity, comparative claims, or awards:
• the size of the team/group should be indicated – or –
• all members of the team/group/crew should be identified, using their names and status as registered with RECO
Expanded definition of ‘advertising’
Because advertising is not defined in either REBBA 2002 or the Code of Ethics, RECO adopted an advertising definition, which as been expended to include references to electronic media, web sites, and social media.
The revised definition reads:
“Advertising” means any notice, announcement or representation directed at the public that is authorized, made by or on behalf of a registrant and that is intended to promote a registrant or the business, services or real estate trades of a registrant in any medium including, but not limited to, print, radio, television, electronic media or publication on the internet (including websites and social media sites). Business cards, letterhead or fax cover sheets that contain promotional statements may be considered as “advertising.”
Stay tuned for future blog posts where we will review other legislative breaches, such as non-payment of insurance and mortgage fraud.
For More Information
To ensure your advertisement (including business cards) complies with REBBA 2002, review RECO’s Advertising Guideline and Advertising Checklist, posted on http://www.reco.on.ca/section-professional/tc-363/sc-369.html.