The California Bureau of Real Estate (Cal BRE views websites maintained by salespersons as solicitation of business on behalf of the responsible broker. As salesperson must act through his or her responsible broker, the Cal BRE views such a solicitation is an act that requires a license.
Because the Cal BRE views salesperson websites as solicitations on behalf of the responsible broker, the website itself is both a transaction requiring a license and an advertisement. As such, Cal BRE Regulation 2725 is controlling in this situation.
Regulation 2725 provides that the responsible broker must exercise reasonable supervision over the activities of his or her salespersons which includes the establishment of policies, rules, procedures and systems to review, oversee, inspect and manage transactions that require a real estate license and advertising of any service for which a license is required.
Regulation 2725 also provides that the form and extent of such policies, rules, procedures and systems shall take into consideration the number of salespersons employed and the number and location of branch offices. A responsible broker with hundreds of salespersons probably will not be obligated to look at each salesperson website daily. However, some policy is required.
A responsible broker should, at a minimum, require salespersons to provide a list of all url’s that they maintain or create. The responsible broker should also require that salespersons notify the responsible broker when significant changes to their websites are made. The responsible broker should also be informed of the source of any automatically populated data that is pushed to the salesperson website. Lastly, the responsible broker should have some regular interval at which a designee inspects each salesperson website.
The absence of any policy to monitor salesperson websites is nearly certain to be viewed by the Cal BRE as a violation of Regulation 2725.