Protecting Realtors when government errs

Inman News published a column over the weekend, "How public record errors hurt real estate sellers." What the column doesn’t say, though, is what kinds of trouble a Realtor can get into by relying on those (inaccurate) public records.

Enter Virginia’s HB 1907 — otherwise known as "the agency bill." VAR introduced it, and one key provision is that "Real estate licensees will be provided immunity from lawsuits when relaying publicly available information from localities that turns out to be inaccurate."

It’s passed the House and Senate (unanimously) and the governor is expected to sign it. So, while errors in government documents will always be a problem, at least Realtors won’t have to take quite as much heat.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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2 Responses to Protecting Realtors when government errs

  1. Joe Vita says:

    This portion of the agency bill, in my opinion, is harmful to our profession as it permits licencees to hide behind information that they know can be somewhat unreliable. We come across faulty information in the public records often enough so that we should know that reasonable attempts to verify the data is a necessity. Due diligence on the part of listing agents to personally make an attempt to verify information such as a home’s square footage or other details that are reasonably accessible distinguishes the professionals from the slackards in our field. It does the same for buyer agents who take the time to verify information provided by listing agents and supplement it with information that may be lacking from the MLS data. If we truly have the best interests of our client in mind a reasonable attempt to make verification is simply the professional thing to do.

  2. Jay DeBoer says:

    Joe, your concern about professionalism is well-stated. But there is a broader concept in law that says that one should not be held liable to pay for damage that he didn’t cause. The provision in the bill that is mentioned here is already in the Code of Virginia – our bill this year restates it for all classes of representation.

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