Dear REBNY Member:
You may have heard or read about StreetEasy’s Premier Agent Program in New York City. I am writing to inform you that we have taken the first step of contacting the New York State Department of State to express our significant concerns about the program and the consumer confusion that it has created in just its first week.
We have requested an advisory opinion from the Department of State which has the authority to regulate real estate advertising in the State. We have strong concerns that the Premier Agent Program violates the New York Advertising Regulations which prohibit advertising a listing that is subject to an exclusive with another firm. The Premier Agent Program is identical to a real estate agent purchasing a billboard, advertising another firm’s listing on the billboard without identifying that firm, and including just a telephone number or generic email (without the advertising agent’s name or picture) for the consumer to use to contact someone for more information. In addition, the advertising fails to contain the required disclaimers and the license status of the Premier Agent.
Please review our letter to the Department of State and the legal arguments we’ve outlined.
I want you to know we have heard and appreciate the concerns our members have voiced about this matter and we will keep our members apprised of all developments moving forward. We continue to review all of our potential options regarding the protection of consumers and maintaining the professionalism of the brokerage community in New York City.
John H. Banks, III