Have you heard TREC’s decision about unlicensed assistants?

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Stack of books on a library table topped by a model of a house

02/16/2017 | Author: Editorial Staff

This week, the Texas Real Estate Commission met to discuss several rules, including adopting previously proposed amendments to TREC Rule 535.4 to clarify what constitutes showing property.

  • “Show” definition added. The definition is “causing or permitting the property to be viewed by a prospective buyer or tenant, unlocking or providing access onto or into a property for a prospective buyer or tenant, and hosting an open house at the property.”
  • Unescorted viewing of a vacant property available for lease is permitted. This permission can be granted as long as certain methods, like technology, are used to control access and verify identity of the potential tenant and the property owner consents in writing. The consent must be in bold print, in at least 12-point font, and must specify whether the broker enabling access or the owner will be responsible for any damage that results and that the owner is aware unescorted access may occur. TAR is currently creating a written consent form that will comply with this requirement, which will be available for members’ use soon.

Remember, last year TREC removed a provision that authorizes an unlicensed person to act as a host or hostess at an open house.

A proposed change to business entities and designated broker rules 
TREC proposed a change to rule 535.53(b)(5)(B) to clarify that designated brokers can own at least 10% of a business entity through a verified ownership chain in other business entities. 

A proposed change concerning TREC oversight of “wholesale brokers” 
Imagine a scenario where a buyer makes an offer on a property that is accepted by the seller, and though the parties haven’t closed yet, the buyer offers to sell his “equitable interest” in the property to a second buyer. Under the proposed rule, if the original buyer does not disclose his equitable interest in the property to the second buyer, TREC says he is engaging in real estate brokerage, meaning such activities would fall under its jurisdiction. The proposed rule also sets forth additional disclosure requirements for license holders. In addition, it’s possible this issue may be addressed in a bill this legislative session. 

Other proposals were made that affect education, including proposed rules about qualifying instructors, qualifying courses, and responsibilities of providers.

Get specific details on these updates and other information from the meeting on TREC’s website.

Categories: Legal
Tags: legal, trec


Cahill on 03/14/2017

EXCELLENT explanation by TREC.  As an inspector I enter occupied and vacant homes with seller and listing agent permission often. The problem happens when the buyer shows up with friends and remodeling contractors and no agent. I contact the seller and have them provide permission via email with a hold harmless for the actions of others. If I do not have permission I do not let anyone in except the agent; they can let the others in.

If I see pharmaceuticals or expensive jewelry laying about I take a confidential photo and immediately notify the listing agent that the home is not properly secured. 

It is amazing to see 99% of sellers allowing unrestricted access to their homes and an agent never shows up. The trick is for the inspector, appraiser, engineer etc to learn how to manage care and custody. Also be aware that a large number of homes are watching you on their smart phone. I like that they are watching me however know they may also be listening and that can diminish buyer negotiating. I always wave and take a picture of the cameras. Thanks again for the good explanation TREC.

Mike McEwen on 03/14/2017

Thanks for the heads up, Christine.  We virtually never allowed unescorted access.  On the rare occasion that we might do it, it would be to someone w/ whom we have had a very intimate relationship for a very long time.

Christine Anderson on 03/14/2017

Hey All! Christine Anderson, from TREC here. I just wanted to tell you all that we have recently posted a brief article explaining some of the most common misconceptions about this new rule. Check it out: https://www.trec.texas.gov/article/confused-about-unescorted-access-rules-get-answers

Cahill on 02/20/2017

TREC cannot regulate what an owner does. They only regulate the agent. I perceive business opportunities resulting from these Rule changes. Some of these ideas benefit agents and some encourage growth of alternate sale methods. These Rules can come back and harm real estate agents and TREC. To reiterate, TREC cannot regulate what an owner does.

Jack Maxwell on 02/20/2017

Don’t forget that TREC is a consumer protection agency first and foremost.  They do not exist to serve us, the real estate community.  If they feel that a new regulation will better protect the principals in transactions, they will institute it.

Mike on 02/20/2017

Other than the law there is absolutely nothing ethically or morally wrong w/ an unlicensed person showing occupied or unoccupied property.  Having a license is a meaningless component of this practice.  My unlicensed assistant knows more about the Property Code than 95%, or more, of all agents.  Unlicensed assistants do not execute the leases; they simply expose prospective tenants to properties.  In my opinion it’s also goofy that an unlicensed assistant may no longer man an open house.  There is an element of greed in here somewhere.  Should we start requiring the office receptionist to have a license.  Should housekeeping personnel also be licensed.  let’s get real!

Courtney Fadipe on 02/19/2017

How can we protect our clients interests if they decide that they don’t want unaccompanied walk throughs or unlicensed attendants showing their vacant properties. If something gets damaged or anything happens to their property, who will cover the damages. Have they even considered the risks and fraud that could be endangering to our clients interests, & and all risks involved as well. This new rule need to be revised.  Not only is it dangerous for our clients, but it eliminates the use of hiring realtor. Realtors will soon find HAR membership as useless.  Consumers will no longer see use for having an agent to represent them anymore.

Richard Weeks on 02/17/2017

@ Doris Snipp professionals Realtors know the correct use of the mark is REALTORS®

Doris Snipp on 02/17/2017

This is a sad day for professional Realtors. We know how many transactions one must do before you truly understand all the issues. We have been convinced of the need for our Agency relationship. We have been forced to have a background check and fingerprints. We have been directed that only licensed agents could discuss real estate with Prospects. Suddenly, now it is OK for an unlicensed person to host an open house, unlock doors, have access to properties, while not even needing a background check or fingerprints.  This does not represent the sellers interest above the unlicensed assistant. They do not know how to sell at an open house or showing. This leads one to wonder why become licensed at all. Banks and mortgages companies and discount houses can hire people to show and then handle the contract themselves. This smells of breaking an industry in favor of large corporations stepping in and Realtors becoming a thing of the past.  Perhaps carrying the name of Realtor is not the path.  Why have stringent rules to follow when we are being undermined by unlicensed assistants. Do you believe more powers will not be given to them in the future. Is our interest being served. Maybe the title as a sales associate is all that is necessary. Our associations exist because of us. When they stop representing our interest maybe we need to rethink our participation. Our voices certainly did not matter. Why not let unlicensed assistants be able to unlock doors for Property Managment only. While convenient, it is an unnecessary step and believe me, when service is unsatisfactory, the public will believe a Realtor was involved.

Hoyt Matise on 02/17/2017

Looks like some unelected bureaucrat(s) is/are obsessed with micromanaging our industry.  Get the bureaucrats and government OUT of our business.  Many professionals in this industry have practiced over 50-60 years and are far more knowledgeable than those on the outside looking in - basing rules/regulations on their perception of the newest brokers/agents, who are probably substantially more educated and knowledgeable than perceived…  This kind of, again, micromanagement is (or should be) offensive to most of us…

Brenda Sharp on 02/17/2017

TREC has become overly engrossed in covering every possible detail that could lead to a legal action. The main reason for TREC’s existence has become mired in a million small details,  that only make Realtors, agents and brokers lives that much more difficult . TREC needs to realize Realtors are NOT LAWYERS.

Altan Kartltepe on 02/17/2017

RE: Wholesale Brokers and “Equitable Interest”.

If “equitable interest” is personal property does this mean that TREC will now regulate transactions involving personal property brokering matters—not just real property brokering.  Is TREC now going to regulate brokering of Notes and Deeds of Trusts, too?

Cahill on 02/16/2017

I was wondering how it might affect opendoor.com. Not sure.

Dan Williams on 02/16/2017

So how does this change the open house policy with unlicensed assistants?

Cahill on 02/16/2017

Does this mean opendoor.com cannot allow un-escorted prospective buyers or renters?

Rules, rules and more rules.  Calvin Coolidge said
No method of procedure has ever been devised by which liberty could be divorced from local self-government. No plan of centralization has ever been adopted which did not result in bureaucracy, tyranny, inflexibility, reaction, and decline. Of all forms of government, those administered by bureaus are about the least satisfactory to an enlightened and progressive people. Being irresponsible they become autocratic, and being autocratic they resist all development. Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy. It is the one element in our institutions that sets up the pretense of having authority over everybody and being responsible to nobody.

Mike McEwen on 02/16/2017

Well stated Ms. Belcher.

Addie Belcher on 02/16/2017

Poorly thought out changes and restrictions…we need TREC to listen to those of us that practice regularly.

Mike McEwen on 02/16/2017

These changes regarding unlicensed assistants showing rental properties have been poorly thought out.

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