The staff of the Federal Trade Commission on September 17 voted to file comments with the Virginia Real Estate Board about proposed changes to its real estate broker and salesperson licensing requirements. In its comment, the FTC's Bureau of Competition noted its concerns about possible adverse impact on competition and consumer welfare.
Specifically, the agency expressed concern that the state's proposal to redefine what it means for a real estate broker or salesperson to be "actively engaged" in the real estate business would effectively bar part-timers from becoming real estate brokers. Currently, the Virginia board considers those who are involved in real estate activities for 20 hours a week to be "actively engaged." The state has proposed changing the requirement to 40 hours per week.
In its comment the staff stated, "Barring part-timers from becoming licensed real estate brokers and salespersons in Virginia would, by limiting entry into these professions, appear likely to restrict competition and harm consumers, who benefit from increased competition. Although we fully appreciate that the Board must act in the interests of consumers to prevent entry by persons who are not competent or are ethically deficient, there appears no basis for concluding that part-timer applicants as a class are less qualified in these respects."
The Commission vote to file the comment was 4-0.
The comment expresses the views of the staff of the FTC's Bureau of Competition and not necessarily those of the Commission or any individual Commissioner.
Copies of the full text of the comment are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. V980031)