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City Commission Oversteps Their Authority

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with ERA Simmons Real Estate 18157

The City Commission has a tough job trying to please everybody.  Commissioners get calls from their constituents all the time complaining about things that are going on in the neighborhood.  Our City Commissioners work hard trying to please everybody especially when it comes to keeping our town beautiful.  This time though I think they may have "overstepped their authority". 

One of our commissioners introduced an ordinance that would make REALTORS financially responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their listed properties, especially the weeds and lawn.  We presently have an ordinance that allows the city to fine the owner or agent of the owner $200.00 plus the cost for maintaining the lawn and weeds if they do not respond within 15 days of being cited.  The new ordinance would include REALTORS whose sign is in the yard when the citation is issued.  The commission maintained that since we call ourselves real estate agents we therefore should be considered "agents" of the owner since we have their property listed for sale. 

There was a call for force at the City Commission hearing where the ordinance was to be discussed.  I am proud to say that the real estate community came out in force to comment on this proposal.  I am sad to report though that the commissioner that introduced this proposed change immediately starting attacking us as a group instead of appealing to us for help in solving this problem.  He stirred up quite a hornets nest. 

After the commission discussed this issue we were allowed to present our case.  We explained that although there are provisions in our New Mexico Real Estate Law to represent our clients as Agents, very few of our brokers do.  We instead chose to represent them as "Transaction Brokers".  Even if we do represent our clients as Agents we are limited in our authority to the confines of the written agreement between ourselves as agent and our clients.  Our State issued Listing Agreements specifically state that we are not responsible for maintaining the property, that falls on the owner in all situations.  We can certainly assist the owner in finding capable, qualified vendors to perform the work but we can not and will not be held financially responsible.

After much discussion the commission decided to drop the addition to the ordinance and instead agreed to work with the Real Estate community in finding a solution to the problem of weeds and lawn care in our beautiful city.  I did not fault the City Commission in trying to find a way to solve this problem, I just disagreed with their solution.

Carolyn Kolba
Serving Mentor, and all of Lake County, Ohio - Mentor, OH
Keller Williams Realty- Mentor, Ohio

I am glad that the Listing Agent Realtors were found to not be responsible for their seller's water bills.  It would have been insane to have found otherwise.

Aug 16, 2010 05:17 PM