Ethical real estate brokers who are members of the Real Estate board of New York (REBNY) have a requirement that is not in New York State law, notes Neil B. Garfinkel, the organization’s residential counsel.
If representing a member of her/his immediate family, according to REBNY’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices, a broker must disclose that relationship in writing to other parties to a transaction.
Although the state doesn’t require that disclosure, there is statute stating that a broker has to disclose any personal ownership interest in the property involved in a transaction.
Garfinkel explains that REBNY’s requirement does not specify exactly when the disclosure of a family interest must be made. His good advice is to submit the written information at the time that agency relationship — whether the broker represents buyer or seller — is provided. The lawyer continues:
In the event that an Agency Disclosure Form is not required, the familial relationship disclosure should be made at the time of first substantive contact with the parties involved in the transaction.
REBNY’s membership comprises 12,000 owners, builders, brokers, managers, banks, insurance companies, pension funds, real estate investment trusts, utilities, attorneys, architects, marketing professionals and many other individuals and institutions involved in New York realty.
But not every real estate broker and agent is a member of REBNY, so the most scrupulous buyers may want to inquire about membership or ask a direct question about any potential conflicts of interest.
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