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Showing Dilemmas: Illegal, Unethical or Just Plain Rude?

You have to watch your step legally every day. But how do you sidestep the legal land mines you might not be aware of? Test yourself on three common scenarios when you’re taking buyers on home tours.

What do you think? Are these three situations illegal?

Scenario Number One: Marijuana

The problem: A listing agent learns the seller has a cannabis grow room in the basement. The agent decides the smell might turn off some potential buyers during an open house. The agent borrows his broker’s branded moving van to temporarily move the cannabis out of the home and into the broker’s parking lot.

Is it illegal, unethical or rude? Likely yes, even in the 21 states (and the District of Columbia) where cultivating, possessing and consuming cannabis for personal use is legal or decriminalized. Very few states have a policy for how you transport the plants. If you facilitate transport, you could have an issue.

Scenario Number Two: Hidden Cameras

The problem: A prospective buyer’s agent turns off the seller’s router before showings to disable any Wi-Fi–enabled recording devices, then turns it on again when leaving.

Is it illegal, unethical or rude? It’s rude at the least. Turning off the router can wreak havoc on all the interconnected smart devices in a home. In addition, it’s unethical—and potentially illegal—to tamper with a seller’s property. You could, in some cases, be breaking trespass laws.

Scenario Number Three: Animals

The problem: A seller who is severely allergic to dogs demands that no animals be allowed inside the home during showings.

Is it illegal, unethical or rude? It’s not illegal, but it can be a tricky situation. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act allow service and support animals to accompany their companions pretty much everywhere. So, it’s important to take reasonable steps to work with individuals who require them. You could offer a video tour, for instance.

November 18, 2022.Realtor Magazine. 3 Showing Dilemmas: Illegal, Unethical or Just Plain Rude?.

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