In 2018, California real estate agents and brokers became subject to a new set of regulations applicable to advertising by the enactment of AB 1650. Although the bill was signed into law by Governor Brown in August of 2016 (8/19/16), it did not become effective until January 1, 2018. The act in substance was referred to by California legislators as containing “uniform advertising standards.”
The reason for the sixteen-month delay between enactment and the effective date was to allow brokers and agents to plan accordingly for the legislation’s new requirements, which include certain costs and physical changes.
AB 1650 was the California legislature’s response to a list of extensive and confusing rules applicable to real estate advertising in the state of California. While there were no true substantive conflicts between various rules, California law applied different rules to different types of ads and solicitations.
In summary, a licensee must include his or her name, license identification number, and responsible broker’s identity on all solicitations intended to be the first point of contact with consumers. For the purposes of the act, “solicitation materials” includes business cards, stationery, and advertising brochures or flyers, as well as television, print, and electronic media advertising. It also applies to “For sale,” “for rent,” “for lease,” “open house,” and directional signs, unless an exception applies.
The exception is that no agent identification is required for those types of signs if either (1) the responsible broker’s identity is included on the sign without any reference to an associate broker or licensee or (2) there is no identification at all on the sign.
Also, the font size of the identification number can be no smaller than the smallest size of any other type used in the material. If the name of more than one licensee appears in the material, the license identification number of each must also appear. If team names or nicknames are used, prior regulations still apply.
In summary, AB 1650 revised the disclosure requirements regarding solicitation materials to require the inclusion of the name of the licensee and the responsible broker’s identity and revised the description of solicitation materials. It should be noted that agents and brokers are still subject to advertising rules set forth by the Realtor Code of Ethics.
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