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Should real estate sales agents use the “.realtor” domain name and other trademarks of “organized real estate”?

It’s important to note that:

1. The license to work as an Ontario sales agent or carry on business as an Ontario broker is governed by REBBA (“Real Estate and Business Brokers Act”). It is REBBA that prescribes the rules for getting the license and maintaining the license. RECO (the Real Estate Council of Ontario) is the organization that administers REBBA.

2. Membership in “organized real estate” is voluntary. If you are NOT part of “organized real estate” you may keep your real estate license as long as you are affiliated with a broker who is NOT a member of “organized real estate”.

Some real estate professionals may wish to temporarily cease employment as a real estate sales person but keep their real estate license active. This can be done by “parking”, “keeping” or “shelving their license” with a broker who is NOT affiliated with “organized real estate”. (The requirement to meet the REBBA requirements continues.)

What if you cease to be a member of “organized real estate”? All you need do is “stop paying the fees”.

There is “good news” and there is “bad news”.

First, the “good news”: You will avoid all the fees required to be member of “organized real estate”.

Second, the “bad news”: You must cease using all the trademarks owned by “organized real estate”!

The trademarks owned by CREA “Canadian Real Estate Association” and “organized real estate” include:

– the word “realtor”. The word “realtor” is a trademark owned by “organized real estate”. Nobody can use the word “realtor” unless they are a member of “organized real estate”.

Examples of prohibited uses of the word “realtor” include:

– the word “MLS”. “MLS” is a “trademark” owned by “organized real estate”.

Conclusion

Those real estate sales and agents and brokers who wish to take a vacation or sabbatical from their real estate careers by “parking”, “shelving” or “keeping” their license with a broker who is NOT part of “organized real estate” should NOT use the CREA trademarks. In particular, they should NOT use the “.realtor” domain name as their email address! It would be unwise to be in a situation where the continued use of an email address would infringe the trademarks of “organized real estate”!

Keep you Ontario real estate license – park your license with an Ontario real estate broker

The rules governing your registration as an Ontario real estate salesperson or Ontario real estate broker are found in two sources:

A. The Ontario Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) ; and

B. The regulations made pursuant to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA).

Those who are seeking to become or maintain their license as a salesperson or broker should read the statute and the rules. In addition, you must understand the REBBA code of ethics (they are the source of many OREA exam questions).

Your Ontario real estate is  valuable. You worked hard to get it. You have worked hard to provide value to your real estate clients. It has been the key to your real estate career. It takes money and time (in the form of continuing education) to maintain it. In order to maintain your registration with RECO you must:

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