What’s in a name??? Everything.
If someone was to ask you about Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., you may ask who is that? But if someone was to say the name “Buzz” Aldrin, you would recognize that he was one of the first two humans to land on the Moon. Simply put, a name is everything. In many ways it’s the foundation of our self-identities and how other people identify us and communicate about us.
As a REALTOR® your name is everywhere. It’s on your signs, it’s on your business cards, bus stops and numerous other areas where you advertise. But under current law advertising under the name you go by, the one your friends, family and your clients know you as, could be a violation of statute and Arizona Department of Real Estate rule.
Under current Arizona state law, an application for real estate brokers and salespersons licensure requires that applicants use their legal name. Further rule 4-28-301(D) states “The Department shall issue to a qualified person a license bearing the legal name of the licensee and any additional nickname, corporate, or dba name that the Commissioner finds is not detrimental to the public interest. A professional corporation or professional limited liability company licensed under A.R.S. § 32-2125(B) shall not adopt a DBA name.”
Unfortunately for many of our REALTOR® members, we have long heard numerous complaints of applications for nickname approval being denied. Or those REALTOR® members who advertise using the name they regularly go by being cited and fined by the department. As a result, during the annual September Caucus, the membership brought forward the desire to change statute to allow for a license to be issued in an individual’s nickname or name they regularly use.
As your association, we met with state legislators to educate them on this issue and Representative Ben Toma (known as Benjamin for purposes of his real estate advertising) agreed to sponsor our legislation.
On February 25, 2019, a Strike Everything amendment was offered to HB 2371. The bill now:
- Requires the application for licensure as a real estate broker or salesperson to include any derivative of the following that the applicant regularly uses for advertising purposes:
- The applicant’s first name;
- The applicants middle name; or
- The applicants nickname that the applicant regularly uses.
Testimony in committee further clarified that this change would also be applicable when obtaining a license renewal. If passed, REALTORS® in Arizona would finally be legally able to use their common nicknames for business and marketing purposes without fear of reprisal from ADRE.
The House Appropriations Committee unanimously voted to approve the Strike Everything amendment to HB 2371. The bill was then approved by the entire body in a 60-0 vote. Once transmitted to the Senate, the bill was heard in the Commerce Committee, again receiving a unanimous vote on March 14, 2019.
We are hopeful that this common-sense legislation will continue to be met with receptive votes by our members of the legislature. Stay tuned for further updates on this legislation as it moves through the process.