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Can You Advertise 'Low-Crime' Area in MLS?

QUESTION: We have a client who wants us to promote that his area has less crime/fewer break-ins than other areas. He wanted us to pull the last 10 years of police reports to prove it. Can we do that? Can we enter it into the MLS, either in Public or REALTOR® Remarks? Can we provide this documentation as an attachment to the listing online or as an accompaniment to our marketing?

ANSWER: It is not advisable to advertise this if it is unfounded. However, if the police reports can prove lower crime, then you likely would not face claims of misleading advertising. You are instructed to follow all lawful instructions of your client. The concern with this request is that you may incur extra liability should you advertise this way and then an incident occurs on or near the property. It is also wise to check with your local MLS to see if they will allow this practice.

Below is the pertinent TREC Advertising Rule (1260-02-.12) for your review:

(3)(f) No licensee shall advertise in a false, misleading, or deceptive manner. False, misleading, and/or deceptive advertising includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Any licensee advertising that includes only the franchise name without including the firm name;
  2. Licensees who hold themselves out as a team, group, or similar entity within a firm who advertise themselves utilizing terms such as "Real Estate;" "Real Estate Brokerage," "Realty," "Company," "Corporation," "LLC," "Corp.," "Inc.," "Associates," or other similar terms that would lead the public to believe that those licensees are offering real estate brokerage services independent of the firm and principal broker; or
  3. Any webpage that contains a link to an unlicensed entity's website where said entity is engaged or appears to be engaged in activities which require licensure by the Commission.

(7) Guarantees, Claims and Offers 

(a) Unsubstantiated selling claims and misleading statements or inferences are strictly prohibited.

This information is per the Tennessee REALTORS® Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys.


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