Tag Archives: law

Maintaining Client File Confidentiality in the Real Estate Office

(Jeff Sorg – OnlineEd) – Oregon law requires that certain client information be maintained as confidential. The ability of associates in the same office or company to represent the seller and buyer in the same transaction as single agents with the full range of fiduciary obligations necessitates enhanced protection of client confidential information.

Every real estate office should clearly have policies and procedures in place that will fulfill the confidentiality requirements of both Oregon Revised Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules. These confidentiality requirements can best be met by establishing two file systems:

  1. Client Files; and
  2. Transaction Files.

Client Files will start out as active and eventually become inactive. Generally, these files will contain such things as client contact information and profiles, financial information, a list of properties shown to the client and why they were liked or disliked, as well as other confidential client information.

Transaction Files contain all documents relating to the transaction itself. A single transaction file is necessary for each transaction reduced to writing – whether the transaction is accepted, rejected, expired, closed or failed to close.

The following are some of the more important issues that should be considered in developing file keeping procedures for client and transaction files:

  • The principal broker must maintain the active client files. If there is more than one principal broker in the office, then principal brokers should not have access to the active client files of any other principal broker.
  • Every principal broker should maintain active client file confidentiality by limiting access to the files and by providing secure locking storage facilities. If unlicensed personnel have access to the files to assist the principal broker in carrying out their duties, they should be instructed not to discuss the contents of the files with any other licensee, unless principal broker authorization is given.
  • Active client files should be maintained separately from inactive or closed transaction files. An active client file should be established once an agency relationship has been entered into with the client. All pertinent client information should be maintained in the active file.
  • The associate who established the agency relationship with the client may either maintain the active client files under the control of the principal broker or, with the principal broker’s permission, maintain a separate duplicate containing confidential information relating to the client or transaction. In either case, licensees in the office should not have access to the active client files of other licensees. If the licensee maintains the file, the licensee should ensure, at all times, that the files are secure and not available for examination by others in the office.
  • If there is any inadvertent or intentional violation of a client’s confidentiality by another licensee, this should be reported immediately to the principal broker and should be considered as grounds for licensee termination. In addition, the principal broker should immediately report the violation to the client. If the principal broker maintains the files in a central location, procedures should be in place to make sure that only the licensee who has the agency relationship with the client has access to the file.
  • All active client files should be marked or stamped Confidential.
  • The principal broker must maintain a secure file maintenance system for transaction files relating to the sale, purchase, lease option, or exchange of real property. These files are necessary for transactions that closed escrow and those that failed to close. Only licensees having an established agency relationship with the clients of a particular file should have access to that file. If unauthorized access does occur, the principal broker should be notified immediately. The principal broker has a duty to take disciplinary action, including termination of the offending licensee, and notify all clients who were subject to the unauthorized access.
  • Confidential client information should not be maintained in Transaction Files. Instead, all confidential client information should be maintained in Client Files. For storage purposes, both types of files are under the control of the principal broker. Most information provided by third parties to a transaction is not confidential information and should be filed in the Transaction File. All other information should be filed in the Client File.
  • Transaction and Client Files can be cross-referenced.
  • The preservation of client confidential information also means that discussion of any confidential client information with other licensees, office personnel, or third parties who should not have access to confidential client information is prohibited. Violations of this policy should be immediately reported to the principal broker for disciplinary action and immediate reporting to the clients who had their confidentiality violated.
  • All discussion concerning confidential information between agents and clients must be in an environment that allows for appropriate privacy. Conversations over speaker telephones, or with conference room or office doors open should not be permitted.
  • A system must be in place to protect the confidentiality of faxes and telephone messages. This means that confidential faxes should only be sent to a fax machine situated in a private environment.
  • The same office personnel or assistants cannot assist brokers who represent different clients to the same transaction.

The utmost care and attention should be given to make sure the fiduciary responsibility of confidentiality is preserved in real estate offices of all sizes. Clients and transactions can be damaged by the real estate broker’s failure to keep files and information confidential.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

  This article was updated on December 19, 2014. All information contained in this posting is deemed correct and current as of this date, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained by third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.


How to Renew Your Real Estate License: Oregon Active Real Estate License

(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) – As of July 1, 2011, a licensee is required to submit a license renewal application, including the payment of the license renewal fee, using the newly developed online application process available on the Oregon Real Estate Agency’s web site: http://www.oregon.gov/REA/index.shtml License renewals are no longer submitted for processing using the mail.

A license renewal is effective at the date and time the licensee completes the online renewal process. If a real estate broker, principal broker, or property manager fails to renew a license on or before the license expiration date, the licensee may not engage in any professional real estate activity after the license expires. In order to be considered on-time, a license renewal must be completed by the last day of the month in which a license expires.

The procedures to renew online are as follows:

  • Go to the Oregon RealEstateAgencyweb site: http://www.oregon.gov/REA/index.shtml

    Oregon real estate licenses will be renewed online at the Oregon Real Estate Agency web site

  • Once at the web site, click on Online License Renewal and follow the steps required to renew the license. To access the process you will be asked to enter a User Name and Password for your account. If you do not remember your User Name or password you can create a new account.
  • Once you have accessed your accountyouwill be required to electronically:
    • Pay the required renewal fee
    • Certify that continuing education requirements have been met
    • Electronically attest to the truth of the statements made during the online renewal process.
  • Once the renewal process has been completed, the license will be renewed for another term.

The same procedures for active license renewal also apply to inactive licenses.

In the case of an expired license, the Agency will renew an expired license to either active or inactive status, when the licensee renews within one year of the date the license expired. The license must be renewed online at the Agency web site: http://www.oregon.gov/REA/index.shtml

  • Once the expired licensee has created or accessed their account, thelicenseewill be required to electronically:
    • Pay the required renewal fee
    • Complete the online renewal form
    • Certify that continuing education requirements have been met
    • Electronically attest to the truth of the statements made during the online renewal process.
  • Once the renewal process has been completed, the license will be renewed for another term.

When the Agency renews an expired license, the renewed license is effective the date the renewal requirements are met. The renewal is not retroactive to the date the license expired and an expired license retains the status of expired during the expiration period. An expired license renewed following the renewal procedures expires two years from the date of the original expiration date.

NOTE: A real estate license that has expired for more than one year is lapsed. A license cannot be renew if it is lapsed, surrendered, suspended, or revoked. In order to obtain a new license, the former licensee must reapply and meet all the licensing qualifications required of new license applicants.

If you are looking for more information regarding renewing an inactive real estate license, check out our other blog post, How to Renew Your Expired Oregon Real Estate License.

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For more about OnlineEd® or to visit their Oregon real estate education catalog, please visit www.OnlineEd.com.
OnlineEd® is Oregon Real Estate Agency Certified Education Provider No. 1038

Advertising Rules for Oregon Real Estate Brokers, Principal Brokers, and Property Managers

(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) – Current Oregon Real Estate Agency advertising rules can be found in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR 863-015-0125), which is reprinted below. For additional information in summary format, please be sure to read our other blog article, Important Advertising Points for Oregon Real Estate Licensees.

(This article was last upadted on July 5, 2019)

OAR 863-015-0125
Advertising

(1) As used in this rule, “advertising” and “advertisement” include all forms of representation, promotion and solicitation disseminated in any manner and by any means for any purpose related to professional real estate activity, including, without limitation, advertising by mail; telephone, cellular telephone, and telephonic advertising; the Internet, E-mail, electronic bulletin board and other similar electronic systems; and business cards, signs, lawn signs, and billboards.

(2) Advertising by a licensee, in process and in substance, must:

(a) Be identifiable as advertising of a real estate licensee;

(b) Be truthful and not deceptive or misleading;

(c) Not state or imply that the real estate broker or property manager associated with a principal real estate broker is the person responsible for operating the real estate brokerage or is a sole practitioner or principal broker;

(d) Not state or imply that the licensee is qualified or has a level of expertise other than as currently maintained by the licensee; and

(e) Be done only with the written permission of the property owner(s) or owner(s’) authorized agent.

(3) Advertising that includes the licensee’s name must:

(a) Use the licensee’s licensed name; or

(b) Use a common derivative of the licensee’s first name and the licensee’s licensed last name.

(4) The licensed name or registered business name of the principal real estate broker, sole practitioner real estate broker, or property manager must be prominently displayed, immediately noticeable, and conspicuous in all advertising.

(5) Except as provided in section (8) of this rule, a real estate broker must:

(a) Submit proposed advertising to the licensee’s principal broker for review and receive the principal broker’s approval before publicly releasing any advertisement; and

(b) Keep a record of the principal broker’s approval and make it available to the agency upon request.

(6) Except as provided in section (8) of this rule, a principal real estate broker:

(a) Is responsible for all advertising approved by the principal broker that states the principal real estate broker’s licensed name or registered business name; and

(b) Must review all advertising of a real estate broker or a property manager who is associated with the principal real estate broker.

(7) A principal real estate broker may delegate direct supervisory authority and responsibility for advertising originating in a branch office to the principal broker who manages the branch office if such delegation is in writing.

(8) A licensee associated with a principal real estate broker may advertise property owned by the licensee for sale, exchange, or lease option without approval of the principal real estate broker, if:

(a) The property is not listed for sale, exchange, or lease option with the principal broker;

(b) The advertising states that the property owner is a real estate licensee; and

(c) The advertising complies with all applicable other applicable provisions of ORS Chapter 696 and its implementing rules.

(9) Advertising in electronic media and by electronic communication, including but not limited to the Internet, web pages, E-mail, E-mail discussion groups, blogs, and bulletin boards is subject to the following requirements:

(a) Advertising must comply with all other requirements of this rule;

(b) Advertising by a licensee must include on its first page:

(A) The licensee’s licensed name as required in section (3) of this rule;

(B) The licensed name or registered business name of the principal real estate broker, sole practitioner real estate broker, or property manager; and

(C) A statement that the licensee is licensed in the State of Oregon.

(c) Sponsored links, which are paid advertisements located on a search engine results page, are exempt from the requirements contained in subsection (b) of this section if the first page following the link complies with subsection (b).

(d) E-mail from a licensee is exempt from the requirements of subsection (b) of this section if the licensee’s initial communication contained the information required by subsection (a).

(10) No advertising may guarantee future profits from any real estate activity.

(11) A licensee may use the term “team” or “group” to advertise if:

(a) The use of the term does not constitute the unlawful use of a trade name and is not deceptively similar to a name under which any other person is lawfully doing business;

(b) The team or group includes at least one real estate licensee;

(c) The licensee members of the team or group are associated with the same principal broker or property manager;

(d) The licensee members of the team or group use each licensee’s licensed name as required under section (3) of this rule;

(e) If any non-licensed individuals are named in the advertising, the advertising must clearly state which individuals are real estate licensees and which ones are not; and

(f) The advertising complies with all other applicable provisions of ORS Chapter 696 and its implementing rules.

Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 696.385

For more about real estate licensee advertising, please be sure to read our other blog article, Important Advertising Points for Oregon Real Estate Licensees.

 

 

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OnlineEd blog postings are the opinion of the author and not intended as legal or other professional advice. Be sure to consult the appropriate party when professional advice is needed.

For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

OnlineEd® is Oregon Real Estate Agency Certified Education Provider No. 1038

Important Advertising Points for Oregon Real Estate Licensees

Oregon’s definition of advertising by real estate licensees includes all forms of representation, promotion, and solicitation

[This article was last updated on July 5, 2019]

(Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd) – Oregon’s definition of advertising by real estate licensees includes all forms of representation, promotion and solicitation disseminated in any manner and by any means for any purpose related to professional real estate activity, including advertising by mail; telephone, cellular telephone, and telephonic advertising; the Internet, E-mail, electronic bulletin board and other similar electronic systems; and business cards, signs, lawn signs, and billboards. Here are some important points to remember when advertising:

Visit OnlineEd for all your real estate educational needs

  • The licensee cannot lead the public to believe they have a level of expertise greater than they have.
  • The licensee cannot claim or imply a license status other than the one they hold.
  • All advertising must be truthful and cannot be deceptive or designed to mislead.
  • The written permission of the property owner is required to advertise the owner’s property.
  • Advertising property must be identified as the advertising of a real estate licensee.
  • When the licensee’s name is used in advertising the licensed name or registered business name of the principal real estate broker or property manager must be prominently displayed, immediately noticeable and conspicuous.
  • The licensee must submit all proposed advertising to the principal broker for review and approval before publicly releasing the advertising.
  • The licensee is required to keep a record of principal broker approval of advertising and to make it available to the REA upon request. The burden of maintaining advertising records and proving compliance is with the licensee.
  • The licensee does not have to obtain principal broker prior approval to advertise a personal property for sale, if the property is not listed with the principal broker. Personal real estate advertised for sale must disclose that the property owner is a real estate licensee.
  • The principal broker is responsible for all advertising that arises from his/her brokerage. The principal broker must review and approve all advertising or delegate direct supervisory authority and responsibility for advertising originating in a branch office to the principal broker who manages that office.
  • Advertising includes electronic media or communication such as e-mail, Web pages, bulletin board, e-mail discussion groups, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Craigslist, and any other social networking site. Also, the first page of the electronic communication must contain the licensee’s licensed name, the principal broker’s licensed or registered name, and a statement that the licensee is a licensee in the State of Oregon. Sponsored links on a search engine are exempt from this rule because the search link is outside of the control of the licensee. As long as the first e-mail communication contains the necessary disclosure relating to license status and identification of the principal broker, subsequent email communications are exempt from this rule.
  • No advertising may guarantee future profits.
  • Team advertising is permitted as long as the “team name” used does not constitute an unlawful use of a trade name or is similar to another name under which another person is legally authorized to do business. The team or group must include at least one licensee, and all licensee members of the team must be associated with the same principal broker.

NOTE: Sponsored links on a search engine are not considered advertising and are exempt from these rules because the search link is outside of the control of the licensee.

NOTE: Some real estate firms have entered into agreements with each other to interchangeably advertise properties. Many of these authorizations permit a broker to display or advertise the listings of other brokers over the Internet according to the rules of the member’s MLS system. This is commonly referred to as IDX or Internet Data Exchange. The licensee should check with their principal broker to make sure an agreement exists before advertising properties not listed by that licensee or licensee’s firm.

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For more about OnlineEd® or to visit their Oregon real estate education catalog, please visit www.OnlineEd.com.
OnlineEd® is Oregon Real Estate Agency Certified Education Provider No. 1038

FREE Continuing Education Course From OnlineEd For Oregon Real Estate Brokers

Free LARRC

(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) OnlineEd® is offering the newly required Law and Rule Required Course (“LARRC”) for free! As of January 1, 2011, the Oregon Real Estate Agency requires all Oregon Real Estate Brokers to complete an approved Law and Rule Required Course as part of their continuing education for license renewal requirement.  Licensees who are renewing on or after January 1, 2011 are required to take the 3-hour course, which focuses on law updates for the year. This course can be found for FREE in the OnlineEd® Oregon Real Estate catalog.

If you haven’t tried OnlineEd® or any other online education provider, this is a good opportunity to do so for free! To enroll, just head on over to www.OnlineEd.com, click on Real Estate, Oregon, and then add the course to your cart and complete your enrollment, or just click here and follow the insturctions.  Sign up today, get started today!

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OnlineEd® is an Oregon Real Estate Agency approved provider under school number 1038

For more information about OnlineEd, visit their Web site at www.OnlineEd.com

Oregon’s Carbon Monoxide Detector Law Became Effective April 1st

OnlineEd

(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) On April 1, 2011 a new law went into effect requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all residential dwellings with a carbon monoxide source (gas fireplace, furnace, etc).  Landlords must provide alarms for all units that contain a source of carbon monoxide as well as instruct tenants how to operate the alarm and leave them written instructions about the alarm. Property sellers or transferors must install the alarms before transferring their property.

The new owner of the property may bring suit against the prior for $250 per unit for failure to install working carbon monoxide detectors before transferring the property.

View Oregon’s carbon monoxide law in its entirety here: https://www.onlineed.com/Oregon_Carbon_Monoxide_Detector

Why?

In large quantities, carbon monoxide can be an extremely dangerous gas, fatal even. It is invisible and odorless, which makes it even harder to detect without the help of sensors or alarms. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a concern that many people don’t really ever think about, but it needs to be taken seriously.

Carbon monoxide is a threat because the molecules attach to your red blood cells much easier than oxygen molecules. This means that vital organs in your body like your heart and brain are greatly impacted and tissue can be damaged. Carbon monoxide poisoning, if severe enough, will kill you.

Carbon monoxide comes from a variety of places around your home, most of which are very common and easy to overlook. The obvious sources are your automobile’s exhaust, furnace, etc. Other common, lesser-known sources include barbecues, generators, and even your gas or wood burning fireplace. A car parked in an attached garage can still be a source in which deadly carbon monoxide gases can leak into the home, even if the garage door is open.

What can you do?

The law states that that a carbon monoxide alarm is required on each level of a home with a sleeping area or bedroom. Alarms may be placed in each bedroom or within 15 feet outside of each sleeping area. Many alarms come equipped with detection capabilities for smoke as well as carbon monoxide so it is possible to have combination alarms installed. Carbon monoxide detectors are not necessarily installed in the same location as your smoke detector, so please be sure to consult your installation instructions.

New Consumer Finance Web Site Launched

OnlineEd

(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) Educate, Enforce, and Study are the three main objectives listed over at the new government web site, www.consumerfinance.gov.  The site, operated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has at its mission “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans – whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFB) was established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank). Many parts of the act are to be implemented on July 21, 2011.

In addition to policing abuses in consumer financial products, the CFPB will also be responsible for simplifying the disclosure forms that Americans get when they take out a mortgage. By simplifying complex mortgage forms, the CFPB can make it easier for a family to shop for a mortgage and avoid surprises after signing on the dotted line.

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To learn more about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, visit their Web site at:  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/

To learn more about Dodd-Frank, please visit the summary posted at:

http://banking.senate.gov/public/_files/070110_Dodd_Frank_Wall_Street_Reform_comprehensive_summary_Final.pdf