Here’s a story about a conversation I had with a referral partner of ours. She was showing a property. After leaving, she received a phone call from the Seller who is her client. He asked her, “Why didn’t you tell them about the fireplace? Why were you so bearish on the pool? The pool is great!” The listing agent sat back and thought: how could the Seller possibly know about these conversations? “Were you taping us?”
In MA it is illegal to record the audio of people who do not know that you are recording them. So what should you do?
Sellers: We recommend against recording anyone at your open house, especially without disclosing the fact that you are recording to them. You may be committing a crime. Technically, video taping may be acceptable but it is probably bad faith. You are trying to gain a competitive advantage by recording prospective Buyers. Sellers should disclose that the property is subject to recording.
Professionals: if you are aware of recording, you need to disclose that fact. It should be disclosed on the MLS. It should also be disclosed to each person that is walking into the house. We recommend asking the Seller if they are recording. If so, you should tell them that you will have to disclose this to all prospective Buyers. Further, if a Seller is able to view a potential Buyer and use their appearance in deciding whether to sell to that particular buyer, there may be a potential fair housing violation.
Buyers: you should assume that any house you may be walking through has recording devices. Simply walk through without emotion, without conversation and discuss once you leave the house.
Copyright © 2019 Stiles Law, All rights reserved. Stiles Law is a Massachusetts licensed law firm and all content is based on Massachusetts law. The information presented above is meant to be used for general informational purposes and it should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts.