RE10RC07: General Real Estate Laws, Regulations and Practices

A Description of General Laws and Practices

This module is designed to be an overview of the Laws and Regulations that govern a licensee. A more in depth outline exist on most of the subjects included in this outline as individual stand alone modules. Instructors should be reminded to teach to the level of knowledge and understanding of the group of licensees attending the class.


A. Agency Disclosure

  1. first personal meeting between a broker or salesperson and a prospective purchaser or seller for the purpose of discussing a specific property.
  2. Describe agency relationships
  3. Consumer signs or note refusal to sign
  4. Name of licensee, license number and date of disclosure
  5. Not a Contract
  6. Disclosed Dual Agency requires informed consent
  7. Record Maintenance

B. Apartment Rentals.

  1. first personal meeting between the broker and salesperson and a prospective tenant.
  2. state whether ether the prospective tenant will pay any fee for services
  • the amount of the fee
  • manner and time which the fee is due
  • whether or not a fee will be payable whether or not a tenancy is created
  • be signed by the broker or salesperson including license number and date of notice
  • be signed by the prospective tenant, or note if and why they refused to sign
  • Record Retention

D. Sex Offender Registry

E. Personal Relationships (family)


A Chapter 93A: The Consumer Protection Statute

  1. History of Caveat Emptor and Consumer Protection
  2. Persons subject to the Statute
  3. Persons not subject to Statute
  4. Mechanics and Procedures
  5. Attorney General Consumer Protection Regulations

B. Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices

C. Disclosure Requirements

D. Statutes and Case Law

  1. Underwood v. Risman 414 Mass 96 (1993) Supreme Judicial Court
  2. Urman v. South Boston Savings Bank 424 Mass 165 (1997):
  3. The Stigmatized Property Bill has been enacted as: Chapter 294 of Acts of 1998AN ACT FURTHER REGULATING THE DISCLOSURE OF CERTAIN INFORMATION IN REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS


A. Client Funds


  1. Escrow Accounts
  2. Deposits
  • Interest (or non-interest bearing accounts) defined in contract
    • belongs to parties
    • "follows the money"


  • Timing
    • immediately upon pendency of a transaction
    • written acceptance of offer to purchase or rent
  1. Bookkeeping Requirements

B. Disputes/Interpleader


  1. First Months Rent
  2. Last Months Rent
    1. Receipts
    2. Bookkeeping
    3. Interest
  3. Security Deposit
    1. Receipts
    2. Condition Statement
    3. Bookkeeping
    4. Interest
    5. Remains property of tenant
    6. Deduction
  4. Lock/Key Deposit

E. Illegal Deposits are anything more than stated above regardless of what they are called: Cleaning Deposit, Pet Deposit, etc.



  1. Basics
  • Salesperson
  • Brokers
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Corporations, LLC, LLPs, Partnerships
  • Bonding Requirements
  • Insurance
  • No Dual Licensure
  • Gifts and Inducements


  1. Authority of Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salesmen

C. Advertising:

  1. Truthful/not false or misleading
  2. Broker must Self Identify/Nor Blind Advertisements
  3. Non-Discriminatory

D. Active /Inactive License Status

  1. Renewing
  2. Continuing Education Requirement.
  3. Inactive licensees - may not be actively involved in a real estate transaction. The statute only allows payment of referral fees to an inactive licensee for the act of referring a name - no other activity is permitted.

Professional Conduct:

  1. Listing Agreements and the Anti-Trust Laws
  2. Net Listings are illegal
  3. Fair Housing Basics
  4. Illegal Conduct/Reporting Convictions

Important Cases for Discussion:

  • Tristram's Landing Inc. v. Waite, 367 Mass. 622 (1975)
  • Underwood v. Risman 414 Mass. 96 (1993)
  • Urman v. South Boston Savings Bank 424 Mass. 165 (1997)
  • Kelly v. Marx 428 Mass. 877 (1999)
  • McCarthy v. Tobin, 429 Mass. 84 (1999)

Other Sources

The Real Estate Desk Book, A Broker's Guide to Consumer Protection, Procuring Cause and Commissions, Philip S. Lapatin, Esq., Greater Boston Real Estate Board
The Standard Forms Guide, Philip S. Lapatin, Esq., Greater Boston Real Estate Board

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