2018 ADRE Interview: Use of Legal Name in Advertising
During a recent interview, Arizona Department of Real Estate Commissioner Judy Lowe spoke with Arizona REALTORS® 2018 President Lori Doerfler. Highlights are available on YouTube, but here is an excerpt.
Lori Doerfler: Agents know that when advertising, they must use their legal name, but there’s been quite a bit of conversation recently about the necessity for the middle name, middle initial.
Judy Lowe: Statute and rule both indicate that a real estate licensee must use their legal name. Their legal name is what usually is on their driver’s license. If they do not use their middle initial or their middle name, and they use their first name as it’s stated on their driver’s license or birth certificate or any other legal document that establishes their legal name, we usually don’t have many complaints around real estate licensees not using their middle name.
However, when it comes to nicknames…if you’re going to market under your nickname, it must be approved by the Department. – Arizona Dept. of Real Estate Commissioner Judy Lowe
Lori Doerfler: Okay, let’s say that the sign doesn’t identify their middle initial or their middle name…but their first name is the proper name. Let’s say “Lenora Johnson”, but this person goes by “Jeannie…Jeannie Johnson” and she has that nickname. Would it have to be “Lenora J. Johnson”, or is “Lenora Johnson” adequate?
Judy Lowe: Lenora. They could put Jeannie in parenthesis, if they wanted to utilize that, and then their last name. On documents, they probably should be using their name as they’re licensed at the Department.
Lori Doerfler: That includes the middle initial, middle name.
Judy Lowe: If that was included in their license when they got licensed at the Department.
We’re not out there looking for individuals who are marketing or advertising wrong. However, if a consumer were to file a complaint with the Department in writing, we of course would have to pursue it. Then what we do is just go to the statute in the Law Book, see what that says and determine whether there’s a violation.
Anyone who wants to use a nickname, needs to submit the personal information change form to the Department and ask for a nickname. Of course, it can’t be “Number One Agent in Southeast Valley”.
We like to think that the nickname you want is a derivative of your name, or something that you’ve been called since you were a kid, other than “Little One” or something like that.
But the nickname needs to be used in conjunction with your legal name.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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