Consent to video, FaceTime listed property required
Apr 21, 2020 | By Peg Ritenour, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Legal Services
Due to the corona virus pandemic, many REALTORS are utilizing a variety of alternative online methods that allow buyers to view property in lieu of in person showings, such as virtual tours, live streaming, Skype, etc. While these are safe and effective ways to show a listed property, it is important to make sure that you have the necessary consent of the seller to utilize these methods.
If you are the listing agent, this consent should be obtained from the seller at the time of listing or at the point you want to utilize such techniques. The Ohio REALTORS COVID-19 listing addendum includes such language.
But what about buyers’ agents? Some buyers who are leery about entering someone else’s home are requesting that their agent preview the property, photograph or video the interior or FaceTime with them as the agent tours the property. Does the buyer’s agent have to obtain consent to do this?
The answer is yes. NAR Standard of Practice 3-9 provides “REALTORS shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.” Likewise, Standard of Practice 1-16 provides “REALTORS shall not access or use, or permit or enable others to access or use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those authorized by the owner or seller.”
Because authorization to access a property for showing purposes should not be assumed to include permission to video or photograph the property, buyers’ agents should contact the listing agent for permission to do this. Out of caution, I would recommend the same with respect to engaging the buyer via FaceTime. The listing agent should then convey the request to the seller to determine whether permission will be granted, unless the seller has already authorized this. (I.e., see the section in the Ohio REALTORS COVID-19 listing addendum regarding buyers’ agent use of these techniques.)
If permission is granted, it is important that both the buyer’s agent and the buyer understand that any photos, videos or other recordings should only be used for the purpose for which consent was given and should not be shared or posted online. Licensees have been disciplined by the Ohio Real Estate Commission in the past for their inappropriate use of photos or videos taken of a listed property.
Legal articles provided in the Ohio REALTORS Buzz are intended to provide broad, general information about the law and is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.
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