When is a real estate licensee not licensed

The obvious answer to this simple question is “Never.” Once the New York State Department of State (DOS) issues a license to you as a real estate salesperson, real estate associate broker, or real estate broker, you are officially licensed to transact business in that capacity throughout the state. There has been some confusion lately concerning the use of the word “Licensed” in front of the licensing status. With the recent changes in the advertising guidelines scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2014, we have received many inquiries concerning the proper designation on business cards, websites, and email signatures. It seemed particularly redundant to require agents to use “Licensed” before Real Estate Salesperson, Real Estate Associate Broker, or Real Estate Broker. In a similar example, it would be as redundant as requiring attorneys to advertise themselves as “licensed” in their advertising.

As a result of the confusion in the industry and the requests of many licensees to clarify this issue, the New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR) obtained a verbal opinion from DOS that the word “licensed” need not be used in the advertising so long as the name of the real estate broker/firm appears and the agent is identified as a real estate salesperson, real estate associate broker or real estate broker. It should be noted that it is not improper to use “licensed” before the designation. It is simply not required. NYSAR is expecting a formal written opinion from DOS on this point; however, there has been verbal confirmation that this should not be an area of concern to all licensees. Submitted by Alfred M. Fazio, Esq. of Capuder Fazio Giacoia LLP. Visit our website at CFGNY.com for copies of recent articles as well as other areas of interest to the real estate community. If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive future articles, please click the link below.