What can my unlicensed assistant do?

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06/10/2016 | Author: TAR Legal Staff

Can my unlicensed assistant unlock the door for potential buyers if I’m running late?

No. Unlicensed assistants cannot show a home, and following the passage of a 2007 law requiring criminal background checks for license holders, TREC’s interpretation of “show” has expanded to include unlocking and opening doors for potential buyers. This is a departure from TREC’s previous interpretation, which permitted an unlicensed assistant to let buyers or tenants into a property so long as the assistant acted in a limited role (e.g. could not point out features of home or neighborhood, could not answer questions about the property, etc.); identified himself as an unlicensed assistant; and explained his limited role. Now, an unlicensed assistant must refrain from any activity that allows the buyer to be able to view the home, which includes unlocking doors.

Unlicensed assistants are still allowed to host open houses because of a specific rule (535.5(h)), but that may evolve under future rule changes that seek to reconcile open house rules with new laws.

Read more legal Q&As on texasrealestate.com.

Categories: Legal
Tags: unlicensed assistant, trec, trec rules, legal faq, legal


Richard Weeks on 08/18/2016

It makes perfect sense to me.

Mike McEwen on 08/18/2016

Yes, the law prevails, but it does not make sense to have to have a license to open a door.

Richard Weeks on 08/18/2016

Burden, what burden?  You live in a city with less than 15000 residents.  Try getting around a city like Dallas where it could take an hour to go 10 miles.  I read the disciplinary actions report religiously and I see many agents have their license revoked and many more receive rather stiff fines.  Bottom line you want to act like an agent get your license.  You don’t want to be burdened hire a licensed assistant.  Remember the law prevails.

Mike McEwen on 08/18/2016

This puts a tremendous burden on property managers.  Having a license and a background check means nothing.  Look at the monthly list of violations by licensees.

Richard Weeks on 08/18/2016

I guess because people who open doors are not fingerprinted or have a back ground check.  I for one applaud staff recommendation and the commission approval.  Protect the public baby.

Samuel Garcia on 08/18/2016

I think they did a preety good job trying to include all exemptions to the rule.

Mike McEwen on 08/18/2016

These latest decisions make no intellectual sense.  What doe having a license have to do w/ opening a door?  it is pathetic.  I am very disappointed in the outcome of all of this.

Richard Weeks on 08/16/2016

Just to clarify 535.4(c) was added.  5355(h) was deleted.

Richard Wees on 08/16/2016

These rule changes were proposed and approved at yesterdays meeting.  Changes to define opening a door as showing, and removing the paragraph that an unlicensed person can host an open house.

535.4 C
(c) Unless otherwise exempted by the Act, a person must be licensed as a broker or sales agent [salesperson] to show a property [broker’s listings]. For purposes of this section, “show” a property includes causing or permitting the property to be seen by a prospective buyer or tenant, unlocking or providing access onto or into a property, or hosting an open house at the property. (d) Notwithstanding subsection (c), an unlicensed assistant of a broker or sales agent may show a property only if: (1) no person lives at, and no personal property except any intended to remain or convey is stored at, the property; (2) the property owner and the prospective buyer or tenant, prior to the property being shown, have signed a written consent acknowledging that: (A) the unlicensed assistant is an employee of the broker or a sales agent sponsored by the broker as defined by §535.5(d) of this title. (B) the unlicensed assistant has not had a criminal history background check performed by the Commission; (C) the unlicensed assistant may not point out or answer questions about the features of the property or neighborhood; and (D) the broker is responsible for all acts and omissions of the unlicensed assistant. (e) Notwithstanding subsection (c), a license holder may allow an unlicensed person unescorted access to view a property only if: (1) no person lives at, and no personal property except any intended to remain or convey is stored at, the property; and (2) the property owner, prior to the property being viewed, has signed a written consent acknowledging that: (A) the property owner is aware that unescorted access may occur; and (B) the broker enabling access is responsible for any damage that results from such unescorted access.

535 (h)
[(h) A broker may hire an unlicensed person to act as a host or hostess at a property being offered for sale by the broker, provided the unlicensed person engages in no activity for which a license is required.

Michael Hosny on 06/28/2016

There are various reasons assistants do not take the test to become agents:
1) they want to be ASSISTANTS not Realtors
2) time and cost
3) don’t like studying and testing
I am sure there are other reasons.

If TREC or TAR have concerns about safety or protecting the public, introduce background checks and fingerprinting for Assistants and provide them with an ID card with or without a photo.

Mike McEwen on 06/28/2016

Right on, Mr. Hosny!  I sense form Mr. Oldmixon that this is going to be fixed.

Michael Hosny on 06/28/2016

Something is fundamentally wrong when an unlicensed assistant can sit at an open house but cannot unlock a door! How does this nonsense protect the public?
This is beyond absurd!!!

Mike on 06/27/2016

I have inferred from Mr. Oldmixon that the rules are being analyzed.  My letter to him was diplomatic and he had a very nice response that seemed to indicate that there is a perception that there is a contradiction between a non-licensed person not being able to open the door to a rental while a non-licensed person can stand by at an open house.  I think TREC does a great job w/ the contract forms.  They are superior to ones I have seen in other states that are often promulgated by a REALTOR® organization instead of an unbiased real estate commission-type entity.

Richard Weeks on 06/27/2016

I don’t make the rules, I follow them.  If you want things changed you should try and get the governor to appoint you to the commission, or run for state office and change TRELA.  TREC should be applauded for the great job they do, and not criticized.

Mike McEwen on 06/27/2016

“TREC is doing the right thing.  They are protecting the public interest.  Why not have your unlicensed employee of over nine years just get their (sic) license?”  How is the public interest being protected?  I guess you are also saying that any person hosting an open house must have a license.  When it comes to unlocking a door, where does having a license come into play?  I know plenty of licensees who have no business opening a door.

Richard Weeks on 06/27/2016

TREC is doing the right thing.  They are protecting the public interest.  Why not have your unlicensed employee of over nine years just get their license?

Mike McEwen on 06/26/2016

I am cautiously optimistic that TREC is going to make things right.  I did tell Mr. Oldmixon that I will be more than happy to have my unlicensed employee of over nine years have a background check.

Rick DeVoss on 06/26/2016

Thank you for your info, Mike.
But I am having a hard time figuring out what the difference is when unlocking a door for a tenant who is going to sign a contract on the house, vs. opening a door for a prospective buyer of a house.
They are simply “looking at” the property.  Any discussion about leasing or buying has to take place with an Agent/Broker.  Any questions about the aspects of the property have to take place with an Agent/Broker.
Why is everyone so worried about who unlocks the door, as long as that person is an employee of a Broker, and has been screened…?  ....Brokers are responsible for everything an Agent says and does, so why would they have any more liability sending an employee out to unlock a house…??
...With everyone in this state thinking we should all own a gun, maybe the person who goes out to unlock the house should be armed….instead of licensed…

Mike McEwen on 06/26/2016

Just to update everybody, I received a very courteous e-mail from Mr. Oldmixon and am of the impression that the prohibiting of unlicensed people opening rental properties is going to be given new consideration.  I cautiously inferred from his letter that there will be a change for the better.

Chris Rosprim on 06/21/2016

Seems lots of comments separating those properties for sale vs. those for lease.  Will see if TREC would give any consideration to exceptions / exemptions to permit unlicensed associates of a PM company to open a property so a prospective tenant can go through and take a look.

Mike McEwen on 06/21/2016

Mr. Wright, you are brilliant!  I hope this wakes up somebody in Austin.

Steven Wright on 06/21/2016

Ok, new office policy to be TREC compliant.  since non licensed assistance can sit open houses without a problem.  We are now implementing effective immediately   “flash” open houses.  This Flash Open House would be randomly selected locations and times for windows of 5-30 minute.  if it just so happens to fit what a prospects inquiry is strictly coincidental.

by the way assume there is no formal criteria for “open house”

adolph e. guzman on 06/19/2016

I have not heard of any issues concerning an unlicensed assistant granting access to a prospective tenant for a commercial site.

Mike McEwen on 06/18/2016

Mr. Crossland, you have my unconditional admiration.  I used the phrase asinine and was promptly chewed out for doing so.  It is indeed a rule that makes no sense.  You have great “cojones”!

Steve Crossland on 06/18/2016

Lady’s and Gentlemen,

It’s an unenforceable rule. It is perhaps based on a legitimate rationale or hypothetical fear, maybe even an actual case study and/or TREC complaint. Nonetheless, I agree that it’s an asinine, stupid rule which serves as yet another example of government hamstringing of business instead of enabling and empowering it. And it won’t solve whatever “problem” the deep thinkers who originated it think it will solve. There are always unintended consequences.

The biggest threat to our industry is the plethora of fully licensed yet 100% incompetent and/or unethical agents. I’m confronted with them daily. I’vr never had trouble with the occasional “door opening” by an unlicensed assistant.

I too manage rentals. I too use an unlicensed assistant to open rentals (not sales listings though - personal preference). I will, in complete open and utter defiance of the rule, continue to use my unlicensed assistant to let prospects in to vacant see rentals when needed. It will never result in an actual complaint, and if it does, I will be happy to defend myself.

I’ve been letting people into rental property for 25+ years. Usually in person, but with traffic in Austin the way it is now, hardly ever in person anyone.

I use outside agents, my unlicensed assistant, and occasionally my maintenance man. Sometimes I even leave a door unlocked prior to, then go back and lock it later, if the prospect and I cannot arrange a meeting. I don’t give out lockbox codes - yet. Sometimes I know that my painters are there at the house all day, or my makeready crew, and I just tell prospects to go by and have a look, that there will be a crew working.

The painters are not “showing” the property, but I am using their presence and the access it allows to let a prospect *see* a property. Letting a prospect *see* a property at a time when it will be open and unlocked for other reasons is not the same as *showing*.

Now, *causing* it to be open and unlocked when they arrive, by whomever,  is not the same as “showing” either. So long as the person providing access does not act as an agent and engage in that form of Q&A. I can send my UA to do a “property check”, which is a walkthough to check on the vacant home, at the same time I know a prospect will show up to see it.

I do have a Codeboxinc.com lockbox which I will beta test on a rental that I personally own next month, which enables self-showings of vacant homes through the showing calendar/booking software I use. Someone already described how this works down thread. I prefer a human be present to make sure the home is locked up after the prospect sees it, so I haven’t enabled self-showings yet, but my property management friends who do so in other markets report no problems whatsoever. Some agents in other markets are doing this with sales showings now as well.

Bottom line - it’s not an enforceable rule. Someone has to make a complaint in order to create an actionable enforcement case. Who will even know it happened, and how/why would they complain if they did?

I’m not going to change my business model for rental showings in order to avoid a fine that will almost certainly never come about.

Rick DeVoss on 06/17/2016

Mr. Roden—-  I was confused by your last statement.  What “choice” do you have to affiliate with TREC…?  TREC is not a voluntary organization; they are the licensing agency for all real estate agents/brokers in Texas.  If your company wants to sell or lease properties for others, then you have to comply with TREC rules.

Perhaps you meant “TAR”, but then they have nothing to do with the rule making in Texas…

Mike McEwen on 06/17/2016

My suggestion to all of us who agree about this issue of not allowing unlicensed people to open rent properties is that you all, as I have already done, write a letter to Mr. Oldmixon expressing, as diplomatically as possible, your displeasure w/ this new interpretation.

Robby Roden on 06/17/2016

Focusing mainly on properties for lease, companies such as the one in the link below allow prospects to enter a property on their own. http://web.showmojo.com/ Our property management company will have to fire all of our current unlicensed hourly employees that have been handling opening the door for prospects due to this new interpretation. This change comes without any warning and happens in the middle of peak leasing season and “turn” which unless you are in property management there are no words to describe the madness during “turn” which is for us from June - September. Having to fire employees obviously increases unemployment, could put our company at risk of having to pay unemployment, and as an owner of a rental property,  I would not be nearly as happy with a company that allows prospects to enter my home without someone manning/opening the door regardless of whether the person manning/opening the door is licensed or unlicensed and not answering any of the prospect’s questions. In the leasing world, this makes no sense. We are also discussing changing our management company’s affiliation from TREC to TAA. It is possible that TREC could start to lose members to other organizations with rule interpretation changes such as these.

Eileen Miller on 06/17/2016

Do we really need MORE regulations? Remember, licenses are money makers for TREC so they probably wouldn’t mind licensing our assistants. That will just add more cost to the Brokers and ultimately the clients involved in the transaction. If my maintenance man happens to be at the unit next door and someone unexpectedly drops by, should he be licensed because he is polite enough to let them take a look? If he refuses the potential customer is going to think our company is unprofessional and rude.  It’s much more time efficient, saves gas and produces good will with the prospect if they can see it quickly. We cannot always be at the right place at the right time.

Rick DeVoss on 06/17/2016

You bring up a good point, Steven.  ~Just what IS the problem that someone at TREC has imagined…??  ...It was not defined in the above statement, and I guess I missed any official notification from TREC to all licensees, so how are we supposed to know that TREC has changed its mind…?

I do not think that there is any difference in “unlocking” a rental property from “unlocking” a house for sale.  —In both cases, there is no one there to represent the customer who wants to walk through the house.  —-In both cases, we have a duty to protect the owner’s property.  The Broker who hires an unlicensed assistant takes on that responsibility.

The is certainly NO difference in opening up an “Open House” to allow buyers to walk through, than “unlocking” a house for a buyer to walk through.  ...It is still an unlocked house, with no agent present, and all the potential for someone to ask a question of the “hostess” who is unlicensed.

We need to get real about what the rules should be, and how an agency like TREC is going to enforce them.  —If they want more control over “unlicensed assistants”, then they should run a background check on them, and give them some sort of an ID card to show they have been approved to operate with limited powers in the real estate industry.

I have always felt like every Real Estate Agent should be wearing a name badge to identify themselves when showing property.  (Sometimes while showing houses, we run into another group of people who want to look at the same house.  It can very very hard to tell just who is the Agent and who is the customer. )  (Sometimes the customer is dressed better than the agent!)

TREC needs to define what the problem is, and then communicate that to all licensees.  We should either be allowed to utilize unlicensed assistants or not.  ~It doesn’t seem to be much different than the rule about ‘discrimination’, and TREC (and other agencies) have put testers in the field to enforce such a rule.  ...Why can’t they do the same thing with unlicensed assistants?

Mike McEwen on 06/17/2016

Also well stated, Mr. Wright.  I hope yours and some of the other comments will get TREC to rethink its position.

Mike McEwen on 06/17/2016

Brilliantly stated, Mr. Erter.

Stephen Williams on 06/17/2016

If we extend Ms. Lewis’ logic as explained above, I can’t call a taxi to pick up a prospect either, because the taxi driver is “aiding” in the process and has a relationship with me because I called them.  Maybe I can’t hire my son to mow the grass at the listing, because he is “aiding” in the process and is working for me.  I don’t think it’s that simple, is it?

Steven Wright on 06/17/2016

So, at the end of the day,  how do we get TREC to change,  reinterpret, or exclude vacant rental homes from this rule?  if they changed once they can change again.
If for whatever reason they are unwilling or unable, then they should provide for a real estate “assistant” licenses that can do many of these tasks.  However that seems like it would be very costly to exponentially increase their database and policing authority.

Personally if it is a vacant rental property, and the one unlocking the door disclose they are not licensed, don’t offer any information about the property,  Whats the real problem? 

Bill Erter on 06/17/2016

I read this first in the TREC ADVISOR.  I wrote my objections in an email to TREC and received an email from Kerri Lewis, Deputy Executive Director & General Counsel for TREC.  Kerri basically replied that:
“Dear Mr. Erter,
Thank you for your comments. While I understand your position as a small business, TREC’s first duty is consumer protection. The legislature has not defined what it means to “show” a property, although there are very specific definitions of broker activity that must be performed by a license holder in Tex. Occ. Code 1101.002, including:
(1)(A)(vii) aids or offers or attempts to aid in locating or obtaining real estate for purchase or lease;
(1)(A)(iii) procures or assists in procuring a prospect to effect the sale, exchange, or lease of real estate; …
Wouldn’t an assistant who opens up a listed property for a buyer to see be “aiding” and “assisting” under the above requirements?”

This is taken out of context.  When I read the law Kerri Lewis quotes above, I discovered that this is only the definition of a “BROKER.”  It really does not relate to the issue.  This is a mute argument from the General Counsel of TREC and surprisingly a non-existent and illogical justification.

Kerri Lewis went on to say:

“The Commission is charged with interpreting its statutes and rules and under current case law that interpretation will be upheld by the courts if the underlying interpretation is reasonable, even if other reasonable interpretations can be made. Since you read the article as to our reasoning already, I will not repeat that here. “

What was that, “...even if other reasonable interpretations can be made.”  Is she saying TREC will do whatever it wants to under the disguise of “consumer protection?”

My reply to Kerri Lewis:

“Here is some food for thought.  Enforcing this interpretation regarding rental properties can come back to haunt TREC in three areas.  Please consider that I am not an attorney but I think a shrewd attorney could make a feasible case with what I am about to tell you.

1.  TREC could be encouraging big conglomerates to have a corner on the rental market by squeezing out the small businesses and thereby encouraging monopolies in violation of Anti-Trust Laws.
2. TREC could be found in violation of anti-discrimination laws by virtue of creating an undue burden on minority owners of small brokerages.
3. TREC could be found in violation of the 14th amendment by infringing on property rights.

These are all Federal Laws and we both know that Federal Law trumps State Law.”

“To answer your question, No, the definition of a Broker from the Tex. Occ. Code does not address the issue of, does an assistant opening a rental property for a potential tenant to view the property constitute “showing” a property?  You have mapped out the duties of a Broker pretty well but I see no restrictions on an assistant mentioned and nor do I see the words, “only Brokers will perform this function.”

Can you show me where state law specifically addresses this issue?  I don’t think you can.  However, please direct me where to find it if it does exist.  Without the necessary specificity, any interpretation can only be ambiguous and open up a quagmire for TREC.”

I too cannot understand how TREC can connect the dots from the definition of a Broker, to background checks, to banning assistants from opening residences.

I thought I was alone on this issue.  I see I’m not.  Thank you all for your thoughts.

I would post the entire emails but they take up too much space to be able to post here.

Bill Erter

Mike McEwen on 06/17/2016

Ms. Duncan, I do no believe the law makes any distinction between and unoccupied and occupied property.

Jessica Duncan on 06/17/2016

Does this law prohibit the opening of door to our listed VACANT rental listings? It doesn’t mention yes or no.

Mike McEwen on 06/17/2016

Your last comment is extremely well stated Mr. Williams.  I am anxious to see how Mr. Oldmixon responds to my letter that expresses the same concerns you have.  I hope more brokers speak up about this ill-created rule.

Stephen Williams on 06/17/2016

It is hard for me to grasp what the new law is trying to accomplish.  I disagree that TREC is concerned about the well being of the home (locking doors and windows, closing fridges, etc).  They police licensees, not homes.  I’m guessing the concern is, unlicensed assistants a/o employees of licensees “acting” as agents.  I’m sure this is a problem somewhere sometime.  I’m also sure that problem won’t go away with this new rule.  What about that same unlicensed person who is talking to the prospective buyer in the lobby of the office before the agent returns, etc, etc?  So the question I would think, is, does the new rule reduce the exposure enough to justify the challenges it creates?  In my opinion, the answer is no.  There’s already a rule against unlicensed assistants/employees giving advice, etc.  Enforce that rule.

Rick DeVoss on 06/16/2016

Maybe we should simply hire an armed security guard to stand in an Open House…  The flyers could be left on the table for a curious buyer to pick up.  And the sign could read; “No Talking to the Guard.”

Maybe all unlicensed assistants should be required to wear a name badge that says “I am a deaf mute.”

...Or maybe we should go back to the good old days when a Real Estate Agent went out and did all the things that a license was required for. 

Samuel Garcia on 06/16/2016

I agree with Mr. Weeks when he says “Who is responsible for the actions of an unlicensed assistance who grant an individual access to someone else’s house?  Where any doors or windows unlocked, was anything broken, were the lights turned off, was the refrigerator door closed, was anything stolen, etc”  I THINK THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT IN CHANGING THE RULE,  but I think we as agents should fight to keep the right to send an unlicensed assistant to open a door IF WE ACCEPT OUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY DAMAGES TO THE SHOWING PROPERTY while our prospective buyer/tenant is looking at it.

Mike McEwen on 06/16/2016

I appreciate that Ms. Taylor is balanced in her beliefs and that removes the conflict between allowing unlicensed people to hold open houses but not open the door to a rental.  I still do not have a problem w/ unlicensed people unlocking rentals and I have the faith the my assistant will not get into substantive conversations regarding rentals.  She has the temperament and the ethics.

Teresa Ann on 06/16/2016

Is an unlicensed assistant to unlock a door for a buyer’s agent and the buyer’s agent’s prospective buyer?

Eileen Miller on 06/16/2016

I’m familiar with the company Mr. Harris is referring. The lockbox can be accessed by the prospective tenant contacting the company, giving them drivers license etc. so they can run a quick background check. The prospect must have a credit card and pay a $1 fee before the company gives the prospect the one time use code. While this is a legit service I have no plans to use this company as I feel it is still somewhat risky.  I would have a lot more confidence in my unlicensed, yet thoroughly screened assistant than I would the total stranger letting themselves in.  I sincerely hope TREC will reconsider this rule.

Faye Taylor on 06/16/2016

I have to agree with Richard.  I understand Mike’s point but normally laws are changed due to circumstances and things that have happened.  Opening the door is not all an unlicensed assistant may be doing.  Who is going to lock the door?  That means the unlicensed assistant has to wait for the client to leave.  Do you really think those clients aren’t going to ask that assistant questions?  Not many people can stand there and say “I am not sure.  I am not allowed to discuss any aspect of this property with you.”  That is the point behind the law I would think.  Not the act of unlocking the door but the things that might lead to conversation that is prohibited.  We had an unlicensed assistant at one time who knew that things discussed in the office were confidential.  And my RE partner and I had a conversation about a past client and that she had heaf that he might be changing his coaching job. This unlicensed assistant jumped to the conclusion that he might sell the house that he just bought. We found out later that this assistant had gossiped about the conversation and it got back to our client which we never said.  So if you think unlicensed assistants understand ” zip their lip” that is not always the case.  I suspect that is part of the reason for this ruling.  Do I think the same would happen at an open house.  You bet I do; so do I think an unlicensed assistant should hold an open house?  No.

Mike McEwen on 06/16/2016

It’s probably not a violation, Mr. Harris, because the looker is not under the supervision of the brokerage.  To a degree I question that firms’s wisdom….even after asking questions.

Mike McEwen on 06/16/2016

Ms. Cargill, who opens the door to an open house that an unlicensed individual mans?  Do you personally believe that an unlicensed individual should, under no circumstances, be able to unlock a property?

Mike McEwen on 06/16/2016

Mr. Austin, our rental properties do not have lockboxes on them.  Sometimes we will have a rental that is for lease and for sale and it will have some kind of lockbox, but we have keys on the wall at the office that the unlicensed assistant can use.

Mike McEwen on 06/16/2016

Very well said, Ms. Miller.  My unlicensed, statutory employees even have the phrase “unlicensed” after their name on their business cards.

Reggie Harris on 06/16/2016

There is a company here in El Paso, TX that will allow customers to let themselves into a rental property after asking them some questions and getting them to provide some information about themselves.  So, if you can not have an unlicensed assistant open a door is it a violation to allow a customer to let himself into a home for rent?

Candy Cargill on 06/16/2016

All of this is very interesting…bottom line though

TREC, the body that issues and can take away your ability to sell real estate states as of this date an unlicensed assistant MAY NOT open a door to a property that a broker has for sale.
That’s the rule…if you want to break it, that is your choice.

Mike McEwen on 06/16/2016

My point, Mr. Williams, about Intermediary and unlicensed individuals—and I realize that this is a personal point of view that most licensees do not agree w/—is that Intermediary, to quote a TAR attorney, is a legal fiction.  You can’t represent both sides in a transaction.  That would be like the prosecutor also representing the murder defendant.  Intermediary, thanks to the real estate lobby, exists in Texas.  Yet an unlicensed individual cannot simply open a door to a rental so that a prospect can look at it.  That same unlicensed individual can man an open house.  What is the difference?

Bill Austin on 06/16/2016

If it’s a supra lockbox how does an unlicensed person have access ? Surely they are not using your e-key/phone…are they?

Mike McEwen on 06/16/2016

William, I still think you would have a problem under the new TREC interpretation because the listing agreement was created by TAR.  TAR may have to modify the agreement to say “only licensed persons”  I am very disappointed in TREC’s new interpretation.

Mike McEwen on 06/16/2016

Taylor from Tyler?  This is Mike from Jacksonville.  I have written Mr. Oldmixon, the TREC commissioner, a letter telling him that I believe not permitting an unlicensed person to simply open the door of a rental so a prospect can inspect it makes no intellectual sense.  An unlicensed person can man an open house and not give advice but an unlicensed person can’t unlock a rental so that a prospect can inspect it.  I will try and remember to tell you how he responds.

Eileen Miller on 06/16/2016

More government overreach. Shouldn’t the decision be left up to each Broker if their unlicensed assistant is competent enough to unlock a door?

Steve Williams on 06/16/2016

Gotta love the dialogue between Messrs. Weeks and McEwen!  That’s what makes this business so much fun!  But . . . I’m still trying to figure out the “link” between Intermediary rules and rules for unlicensed assistants . . . !  All that aside, personally I like the idea of requiring an assistant to be licensed - it sure takes a lot of pressure off the broker and the assistant’s supervisor, not to mention the E&O carrier!  We have enough challenges in this business - why complicate things by risking an unlicensed assistant saying or doing something that could come back to haunt you.

William on 06/16/2016

So tell me this.. if on a listing agreement the seller gives the listing broker expressed written permission for any brokers, agents or assistants permission to unlock a door we have a problem?


Taylor Burns on 06/16/2016

We are in the commercial business - no residential sales. We have licensed agents, Property Managers, building engineers, and maintenance workers. All of these people enter into vacant spaces for various purposes - repairs, maintenance, etc. Should one of these employees open a space to allow a prospective tenant to view it, is there a problem?

Richard Weeks on 06/13/2016

Yes it was meant to be.  You want to pick and choose the rules you think are right.

Mike McEwen on 06/13/2016

Your use of the term was personal.

Richard Weeks on 06/13/2016

Elevate tone?  You are the one who introduced the word asinine into this thread.

Mike McEwen on 06/12/2016

Intermediary has to do w/ dummying down the agency relationship so that a broker can keep both sides of the commission in his office.  Unlocking a door so that a tenant prospect may look at and evaluate a property has nothing to do w/ agency.  It is unfortunate that you feel you have to elevate your tone.

Richard Weeks on 06/12/2016

So you want allow Intermediary, but you are all for an unlicensed individual opening doors for people.  Talk about asinine.

Mike McEwen on 06/11/2016

I understand agency and representation exceedingly well and that is why Intermediary is not permitted in my brokerage.  For an individual to have to have a license to open the door to a rental property is nuts!  There is no fiduciary relationship involved.  The door is opened, the prospective tenant looks at the property and decides if he has an interest.  If he does, he has to get w/ me.  If he asks the person who showed the property any questions that person directs the questions to me.  As for all your questions about open doors, etc., the person showing the property will make sure that it is secure.  A no-brainer.

Richard Weeks on 06/11/2016

You may know the existence of TRELA and TREC rules; however, it appears you know very little of their content. 
Do you understand the concept of an agency relationship and the duties owed to a client?  Who is responsible for the actions of an unlicensed assistance who grant an individual access to someone else’s house?  Where any doors or windows unlocked, was anything broken, were the lights turned off, was the refrigerator door closed, was anything stolen, etc, etc, etc.

Mike McEwen on 06/10/2016

Just because they are not allowed to does not mean there is not back room influence.  Law is influenced by politics.  I know that there is TRELA and that TREC also has its rules.  But let’s go back to the issue at hand:  an unlicensed individual unlocking a door and doing nothing more.

Richard Weeks on 06/10/2016

You are wrong again.  The Texas Real Estate License Act grants TREC the right to create their own rules which has the full effect of the law.  Also TREC is not involved in legislation because they are forbidden by TRELA.  You need to do some fact checking.

Mike McEwen on 06/10/2016

I license to open a door?  Give me a break!  It’s one thing to open a door and another to act in the capacity of a licensee, which a person who opens doors would not do nor be allowed to do w/out a license.  Everything TREC oversees is state law and you can bet your bottom dollar that TREC is involved in legislation…...just as is TAR.

Richard Weekx on 06/10/2016

I don’t find anything asinine about this as all.
If an individual wants to let someone into a house they need to take the courses, pass the test, get fingerprinted and pass a background check.
TREC does not allow intermediary.  Intermediary is allowed by state law.  See section1101.559 of the Texas Real Estate License Act.  So TREC is simply enforcing that law.

Mike McEwen on 06/10/2016

It is asinine that an unlicensed individual may not unlock a property.  Does this also apply to an unlicensed individual letting a prospective leasee see the inside of a rent property.  As long as the unlicensed individual does not practice real estate there should be no problem.  TREC allows Intermediary but does not allow unlicensed people to unlock a property.  This is as perverted as it gets!  Someone at TREC is being manipulated.

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