In the past year, I have heard from numerous clients about a little known technique called , "just give the caller the lock box code if they send you a driver's license". Granted, if the owner is aware of this and has essentially given permission to do this, then fine. But when property management companies, whose clients include partnerships, llcs and other multi-member/owner entities are involved or the owner is unaware of that this practice is going on, a host of issues arise.
If a prospective tenant enters a house by themselves injured, but claims they were injured in the house when they did not see an unmarked step, and tripped and fell, who is going to pay? Could the settlement for such a law suit exceed the value of the house that the prospect was viewing? There are numerous other problems with this practice which include the obvious theft and vandalism.
ARMLS, Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, informed me that it is not a violation for a lister to give out lock box codes / mechanical boxes, to their listings. They said:
"Good morning Mr. Nims,
Per the ARMLS Rules and Regulations we currently do not have a rule that prohibits or restricts Metropolitan Real Estate or any other listing brokerage to give out their own mechanical lockbox code to prospective tenants. That action would be one that Metropolitan Real Estate would need to discuss with each property owner. If you feel it’s an unethical practice by Metropolitan Real Estate then you are able to pursue an ethics complaint through your local association board."
If something seriously goes wrong with this practice, all realtors may be harmed. Although I am not an attorney, it seems to me that if a court of law determined that this practice should have been outlawed by a listing service,owned by realtors, then that service and or its members should be liable.
But if you can't beat them, join them. The new model to success is about to be all about property managers and listers giving out lock box codes directly to a customer that provides a drivers license, and pocketing the sales agent commissions. It is gonna get sloppy in the troughs.