Industry News

Tennessee governor signs bill banning cash rebates

Realtors backed legislation that drew DOJ opposition

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Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has signed legislation opposed by the U.S. Justice Department that bans real estate licensees in the state from paying cash rebates to consumers. The legislation became effective when the governor signed the bill on Wednesday. Language in the new law provides, "A real estate licensee shall not give or pay cash rebates, cash gifts or cash prizes in conjunction with any real estate transaction. As part of the Tennessee real estate commission's general rulemaking authority the commission may regulate the practices of real estate licensees in regard to gifts, prizes or rebates that are not otherwise prohibited by law." The state Legislature had passed the Realtor-backed legislation, Senate Bill 1160, a few weeks after the state's real estate regulatory agency moved to repeal a statewide ban on cash rebates. And that repeal was in response to a federal investigation, the Justice Department reported. Similar investigations and legal actions by the Jus...