One of the most significant values of membership in the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR) is the Brokerage Counseling Hot Line. The Brokerage Counseling Hot Line is administered by our staff attorney, William G. Mullen III, Legal Counsel and Director of Risk Management.
The Brokerage Counseling Hot Line was established to increase professionalism, help members avoid costly legal or practitioner mistakes and better manage the legal risks that are inherent in the real estate business practice.
Who Can Use the Hot Line?
Designated REALTORS® and their authorized Office Managers (i.e., REALTORS® who are authorized in advance to represent the principal broker) have direct access to the Hot Line. Sales agents receive benefits of the service through their designated brokers and office managers. Sales agents who call the Hot Line are referred back to their principal broker or office manager. (Policy in effect as of 7/1/05).
Examples of appropriate questions:
"Can a Purchase & Sale Agreement be signed on a Sunday?" (Yes)
"How long am I required to keep agency disclosure forms? (3 years)
"Can a facilitator recommend a home inspector to a buyer?" (No)
Examples of inappropriate questions:
"I have a client who has threatened to sue me for not returning his deposit. I do not think I am legally bound to return the deposit, but I am not sure. What should I do?" (Consult your attorney)
"I represented the buyers in the sale of a property at 2 West Street, but the listing broker is refusing to pay me the bonus published in the MLS. How do I get my money?" (Consult your attorney and/or review dispute resolution information on GBAR’s website)
"My company currently has a single agency policy. Is designated agency a better option for us?" (Consult your attorney)
How does the Hot Line Work?
The Brokerage Counseling Hot Line service has a direct telephone line dedicated solely for Hot Line users, (617-399-7842) or members can access the service by e-mail at Brokerage Counseling Hot Line. Using the published Hot Line phone number, rather than our main phone number, expedites response time.
Hot Line calls are answered live, except when Counsel is in the classroom, attending meetings or on another call. In such circumstances, Hot Line calls go into a voice mail system, where members receive detailed instructions and information on how to leave a question or place a request. Periodically throughout the day, the calls are logged in, verified that the caller is a Designated REALTOR® or authorized Office Manager in good standing, and then returned or a written response is prepared.
When Can I Expect a Response?
The Brokerage Counseling Hot Line is available from 10:00 A. M. to 4:00 P. M. weekdays. Calls are returned as quickly as possible, usually within the same business day. Calls placed after 3:30 p.m. on weekdays are answered the next day, and calls placed after 3:30 p.m. on Fridays and on weekends are returned on the following Monday. Although every effort is made to return calls promptly, response time may exceed 24 hours during peak seasonal cycles or periods immediately preceding and following enactment of new laws and/or regulations.
Terms and Conditions of Use.
In using the Hot Line service, designated brokers and authorized office managers should understand and acknowledge the following terms and conditions:
The Hot Line service is intended to provide general information on laws, regulations, policies and court decisions that affect real estate transactions and brokerage activities and on matters pertaining to the application and interpretation of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
No attorney-client relationship is created or intended.
The Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) assumes no actual or implied responsibility for any improper use of information provided through the service.
GBREB is not liable for potential misrepresentations or errors made in responding to questions.
Members may not convey information obtained through the Hot Line to others (e.g., clients, customers, agents) in a way that suggests or implies that the member or GBREB is rendering legal advice.
Designated brokers must sign and return the GBAR Brokerage Counseling Hot Line Memorandum of Understanding.
Brokerage Counseling Hot Line - 617-399-7842 or BrokerageCounselingHotLine@gbreb.com
William G. Mullen III, Esq.
Legal Counsel & Director of Risk Management