Do I have to retain copies of my Facebook posts describing my listings?

QUESTION:  I recently attended an update class that included a discussion of the Real Estate Commission’s record retention rule. The instructor mentioned that brokers are required to retain copies of all advertising materials concerning any property they have listed for a period of three years, regardless of the medium. Does that mean I have to keep copies of any listing information I post on social media such as Facebook? Do I also have to copy and retain all of my tweets describing my listings?

ANSWER:  The answer is yes and yes. Although the Commission’s record retention rule (Rule A.0108) does not specifically mention advertising materials, the rule includes a “catch-all” provision which requires the retention of “any other records pertaining to real estate transactions.” The Commission interprets this language to require brokers to retain copies of all advertising documents pertaining to a marketed property.

In November, the Real Estate Commission proposed an amendment to Rule A.0108 to codify this interpretation. The change would add a new-subparagraph to the rule explicitly requiring the retention of copies of “advertising used to market a property”. This proposed rule change will be submitted to the Commission for consideration and adoption at its meeting on March 16, 2016.

The course materials for this year’s Update program confirm that the requirement to retain all advertising used to market a property applies without regard to the medium used. In the Commission’s words, “Brokers are reminded that they must retain copies of all advertising, marketing or other promotional materials concerning any property for at least three years following the conclusion of the transaction… This includes not only print media, but (also) internet, and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if it contains information about a listed property.”

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