Notes From the Legal Hotline: November 2023

Q: May a buyer’s agent advertise a listed property of another brokerage?

A: Permission should always be obtained prior to advertising the listing of another brokerage, even if you are a cooperating buyer’s agent. Advertising a listing that is not yours, regardless of your participation in the transaction, could result in a Code of Ethics, MLS, copyright, and/or licensing complaint being filed against you.

Once a transaction closes, however, Article 12 of the Code of Ethics, does permit a cooperating broker who participated in the transaction to claim to have “sold” the property, including placing a sold sign on the property with the consent of the buyer. Cooperating brokers, however, must still refrain from using listing photographs without the consent of the listing broker.

Q: Can a landlord ask a prospective tenant if they need a de-leaded apartment?

A: No, posing this inquiry to a prospective tenant may lead to a Fair Housing violation. A landlord does not need to know whether a child under the age of six will be residing in the property until the signing of the lease. At that time, the age(s) of any child(ren) who will be residing in the property becomes relevant. The landlord is legally obligated to provide a lead-safe living environment for children under the age of six. In fulfillment of this duty, the landlord may delay the inception of the lease for up to 30 days in order to bring the property into lead compliance.

It is important to note that a landlord’s lack of knowledge regarding whether lead paint hazards are present at the property will not shield the landlord from liability if a child becomes lead poisoned. Additionally, the parent or guardian of a child under the age of six does not have the ability to waive the child’s right to live in a lead-safe environment.


Written by: Justin Davidson, General Counsel; Catherine Taylor, Associate Counsel; Jonathan Schreiber, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel; and Kate Berard, Associate Counsel.

Services provided through the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, by providing this service, assumes no actual or implied responsibility for any improper use of responses to questions through this service.  The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® will not be legally responsible for any potential misrepresentations or errors made by providing this service. For more information regarding these topics authorized callers should contact the MAR legal hotline at 800-370-5342 or e-mail at