Broker Summit Recap: Katie Johnson, NAR Legal Counsel

Recently, NAR’s Senior Vice President and Legal Counsel - Katie Johnson presented the Top 4 Legal Risks in Real Estate at the IAR Broker Summit.
This is the second part of the Broker Summit Recap. Click here to read the first part highlighting the national, state and brokerage trends presented by Steve Murray of REALTrends. 

Review the complete Top 4 Legal Risks presentation slides


Cybercrime is on the rise. Wire fraud continues to be an issue. The emails from criminals are much more sophisticated and more complex than ever. Ms. Johnson encouraged the brokers to make sure the agents are not using email under any circumstance to share instructions for wiring funds. 

Do you think it cannot happen to you? 
43% of all cyberattacks were leveraged at small to midsized businesses in 2015.
The cybercriminals know the small companies are less protected. 
60% of small business victimized by cyberattacks go out of business in 6 months.

Copyright Infringement

Several high profile cases across the country have resulted in hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. What does your agreement say with your hired photographers? Do you have total ownership over the photos taken? 

Make sure you understand your MLS rules regarding sharing photos with large national portals. 
Follow the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

See sample policies, educational videos from NAR at 

ADA Website Accessibility

DOJ position requires all websites to be accessible. 
However, guidelines are over 15 years old. DOJ has been saying for several years that new guidelines or rules for private business are forthcoming. The latest response is that rules and guidelines should be ready in 2018. 
There is a lot of gray area on this topic and attorney are taking advantage of this uncertainty. 
Ms. Johnson suggested that everyone include an accessibility statement and speak to their website providers regarding accessibility. 


Did you know a drone cannot be operated over people?
Did you know they must remain in your visual line of sight at all times? 
Did you know they can only be used in daylight hours? 
If your company or agents are using drones, make sure you understand the changes to the small unmanned aircraft rule that were effective last August. 
NAR has several great articles and videos regarding Drones.

Other Questions and Resources

 An attendee asked a  question regarding the status Flood Insurance Update and where was Congress currently on this issue. The National Flood Insurance program expires on September 30, 2017.  In late July, NAR staff reported that significant improvements to the "21st Century Flood Reform Act" now allowed NAR to endorse the bill. This key legislation is aimed at strengthening and reauthorizing (link is external) the National Flood Insurance Program.  More debates on this issue has recently occurred regarding FHA loans not accepting private flood insurance.  Read the latest updates from NAR's legislative staff on this issue including talking points for Realtors to discuss with their members of Congress.


The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was referenced several times by Steve Murray and Katie Johnson. It is an annual survey completed year by thousands of home buyers and sellers. NAR compiles all the answers and creates a comprehensive guide showing the results of over 125 questions. Each year the profile is released in October or November. 

Read the Highlights from the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. 

Realtor members can purchase the full Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers for only $19.95. 

 IAR Legal Update

Jennifer Kingland, IAR Lobbyist, discussed the Code Cleanup bill and the First Time Home Buyer Savings Account. 
Please read the blog post written by Paul McLaughlin that highlights the topics addressed in this Code Cleanup Bill. 

The First Time Home Buyer Savings Account was an important legislative victory for IAR. This program will help first-time home buyers save for their first home. Read why it is important here. IAR hopes to have more information on the details of how to setup the program later this fall. The program will officially begin January 1, 2018. 


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