Industry News

Justice Dept. probes law banning real estate gifts, rebates

State commission eyes changes to real estate law

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating a complaint about a contentious Kentucky law that bans free gifts given by real estate agents to consumers. The Kentucky Real Estate Commission had already begun a process to revise the law before receiving notice from the Justice Department last month about the investigation, said Shelly Saffran, director of administration for the commission. The Justice Department plans to request documents relating to the existing law, Saffran also said. Kentucky is one of a few states that have laws severely restricting the ability of real estate agents to offer inducements or rebates to consumers as a business incentive. "We're pretty strict compared to the rest of the country," Saffran said. But some real estate professionals would like it to stay that way. Under the current law, she said, it is technically a violation for a Realtor to take a consumer out to lunch and pay for it. The commission, she said, has tried to be lenient in enforcing the law....

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