In 2017, the Illinois REALTORS® Ethics Citation Panel issued a total of sixty-five (65) citations. Of the citations issued, thirty-one (31) were for a violation of Article 12, Standard of Practice 12-5, of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

Standard of Practice 12-5 requires REALTORS® to disclose the name of their real estate firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner, either in the advertisement or in electronic advertising via a link to a display with all required disclosures.

This Standard of Practice addresses all advertising, including social media sites such as Facebook.

The Ethics Citation Panel issues a fine of $250 for a violation of Standard of Practice 12-5.

Not disclosing the name of your real estate firm in all advertising is also a potential violation of the Illinois Real Estate License Act.

Section 10-30 (d) of the Act: “A sponsored licensee may not advertise under his or her own name. Advertising in any media shall be under the direct supervision of the sponsoring or managing broker and in the sponsoring broker’s business name, which in the case of a franchise shall include the franchise affiliation as well as the name of the individual firm.”

As you will note, the Act does not include the provision that the sponsoring broker’s business name may be included in a link.

The Ethics Citation Panel also issued eighteen (18) citations for a violation of Article 3, Standard of Practice 3-9, of the REALTOR© Code of Ethics.

Standard of Practice 3-9 states, “REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.”

Members should keep all documentation granting them permission to access any listed property. If a complaint is filed, you will have the documentation to prove you were given permission to access the property.

The Ethics Citation Panel issues a fine of $1,000 for a violation of Standard of Practice 3-9.

Keep in mind, unauthorized access might not only be a violation of the Code of Ethics, but it could also be a crime, i.e. trespassing or even breaking and entering!