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What’s Wrong with This Sign?


The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation protects consumers by regulating signs, social media, and other types of advertising, used by real estate licensees.  The purpose of these laws is to make sure that consumers understand to whom they should write a deposit check and who is legally responsible for the transaction and the brokerage.

The penalties for violation are a maximum of $2,000 per offense.   Both your principal broker and you can be fined for violations. This sign violates Rhode Island law.  Can you tell what’s wrong with it?

ANSWER: The name of the brokerage, Smith Realty, is smaller and less noticeable than the name of the licensee and the team.

State regulation requires real estate licensees to:

  • Include the name of the brokerage where you work – not just yours or a team name – on all advertising (signs, web, print, social media, email, mailings, business cards, etc.)
  • Make sure that the name of the brokerage must be larger and more conspicuous than your name and/or a team name.
  • Make sure that advertising is truthful and accurate.
  • Identify yourself as a salesperson or associate broker on business cards if you are not the principal broker.

Questions? Contact the RIAR Legal Department at 401-432-6945 or email monica@rirealtors.org.