Advertising Fines Raised on Lousiana Real Estate Agents
A big change is coming for real estate licensees in Louisiana as the LREC has adopted new policy concerning advertising violations. The advertising fines are being raised, and real estate brokers will need to pay closer attention to their agents. If you have a real estate license in Louisiana, you need to read this article!
Important keys to take from this article:
- Advertising fines are being raised for violations in Louisiana
- Real Estate Brokers will have to match the fines levied on their sales staff
- New policy to be enforced beginning June 1, 2017
- Brokers and agents should review advertising guidelines as part of regular risk management plan
- A free downloadable guide is available at the end of this post
Louisiana Real Estate Commission Raising Advertising Fines for Violations
A big change is coming for real estate licensees in Louisiana as the LREC has adopted new policy concerning advertising violations. If you have a real estate license in Louisiana, you need to read this article! However, before we get into the changes, let’s refresh ourselves as to the current rules regarding advertising and the enforcement of violations.
As a general rule of thumb, it is important to remember that licensed real estate agents have guidelines that must be followed when advertising. These rules are put into place by the LREC and all licensees are bound by virtue of having a real estate license. By definition, “advertising” is usually considered any sort of marketing or prospecting activity where a real estate licensee is promoting property or their services to the public. For instance, anything from business cards to listing signs to property fliers and even social media posts can be regulated as “advertising” under the authority of the LREC. Even if you were not a licensed real estate professional, surely you should know that there are still state and federal guidelines which govern advertising such as false advertising to the public. However the guidelines get even more specific if you do happen to carry a real estate license.
As a general rule of thumb, it is important to remember that licensed real estate agents have guidelines that must be followed when advertising.
Under the current regulatory system, if a licensee violates an advertising rule the current cite and fine system would assess a standard penalty. The “cite and fine system” works much like a traffic ticket in that you would receive a notice of the alleged advertising violation in the mail and with the simple stroke of a pen could admit guilt and pay a fine. The intent of cite and fine is to reduce the heavy paperwork and formal hearing burden from both the LREC and the licensee over common mistakes. The current fine schedule looks like this:
- $75.00 first violation
- $150.00 second violation
- Formal hearing for third violation (maximum penalties could be levied)
Watch The Video on the New Advertising Fines for Real Estate Agents
Higher Fines for Advertising Violations
So now, on to the changes. Beginning on June 1, 2017 the LREC is raising these fines associated with advertising violations. After lengthy discussion and research, it was concluded that the current cite and fine system does not seem to be enough of a deterrent to prevent enough advertising violations. Therefore, several changes were made starting with a significant increase in the fines. The new penalty structure will look like this beginning in June:
- First offense: $250.00 each
- Second offense: $500.00 each
- Third offense: $1,000 each
Sponsoring Broker Match
As if the higher fines are not enough of a deterrent, the LREC is also announcing that citations for advertising violations will be issued to BOTH the real estate agent who placed the ad AND their sponsoring broker. This does not simply mean that the sponsoring broker will receive notice, the intent here is that the broker will also be levied a fine matching that of the agent! Therefore, all licensed real estate brokers in Louisiana should review their risk management strategy and ensure that proper guidance and training is provided to their sponsored agents. Even though many real estate agents work as independent contractors, it is very important to note that the LREC is specifically clarifying that brokers are liable for the advertising violations of their agents.
citations for advertising violations will be issued to BOTH the agent who placed the ad AND their sponsoring broker.
How to Avoid Costly Advertising Fines
The best thing that all real estate agents can do is review the advertising rules. As a licensee myself, I always try to include refresher courses on the LREC Advertising rules as part of my real estate continuing education each year. Sometimes, you might break a simple rule only because you forgot it was there. However, not remembering the rules does not mean we get to break them!
To help you avoid advertising fines and violations, click below to download a free advertising guidelines checklist: