Texts, Calls, and Compliance: FCC Regulations for Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors and marketers who rely on robocalls and robotexts to reach potential clients need to be aware of new regulations from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In December 2023, the FCC finalized new rules to close the so-called “lead generator robocall and robotexts loophole.” These new regulations require strict compliance with “one-to-one” consent for all text messaging. Explicit written consent must be obtained for each and every entity that will send automated telemarketing messages or advertisements.

Marketers who solicit sales or advertise products or services using robocalls or robotexts who fail to comply with these new regulations may face significant penalties. The FCC has imposed fines of up to $10,000 per violation for each call or text message made without proper consent. In addition, individuals and companies may face legal action from consumers if the calls or texts were made without their explicit consent.

Continue reading to learn more about these new rules and the best practices for real estate investors and marketers to ensure compliance when using robocalls and robotexts in their marketing strategies.

New FCC Regulations and Compliance

In December 2023, the FCC introduced new regulations aimed at enhancing consumer privacy. These measures require explicit consent for all automated texts and calls, moving beyond the general “opt-in for marketing” approach. For real estate investors, understanding and adhering to these changes is vital for legal compliance.

Explicit Consent for Communication

  • Individual consent: Consent must now be one-to-one, linking it to a specific business.
  • Clear language: Terms such as “automated texting messages” must be clear in consent forms.
  • Defined communication methods: Investors must inform users of the exact types of communication (texts or calls) they are consenting to.

Lead Generation Adaptation

  • Closing loopholes: The so-called “lead generator loophole” is now addressed. Lead generators are marketing companies who collect consumer data and resell that information to other companies, like lenders or real estate investors. 
  • Third-party data sharing: In order for third parties or lead generators to sell their leads, they must get consent from the consumer for each and every entity that will be sold the lead. 

Rationale Behind the Regulation 

The FCC’s movement towards stricter rules is driven by escalating concerns around user privacy. As texting and calling are considered personal communication channels, unsolicited messages from companies can be perceived as intrusive. These regulations intend to mitigate such invasiveness, providing users with a sense of control and security over their communication streams.

For the real estate sector, this translates into more rigorous standards for obtaining and working leads. Investors are encouraged to rigorously review their practices and ensure clear, direct consent is obtained from any potential clients. This shift is not only about compliance but also about evolving towards more respectful and transparent business communication.

Strategies for Real Estate Investors To Stay Compliant

Real estate investors must stay compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations when sending text messages and making calls to potential leads. Here are some strategies to help real estate investors stay compliant:

  1. Update consent disclosures: Real estate investors must look into the regulation and update their strategy to ensure compliance. This includes obtaining prior express written consent from leads before sending text messages or making calls. Investors should also provide opt-out options in every message or call.
  2. Evaluate vendors and lead sources: Real estate investors should consider their current vendors and lead sources to ensure they are in compliance with TCPA and FCC regulations. If you are purchasing leads from a third party, ask if they have obtained the necessary consent for you to legally send automated texts and calls. If the current sources are not in compliance, investors should make plans for future partners.
  3. Explore other avenues for lead generation: Real estate investors can explore other avenues for lead generation such as direct mail, TV, radio, and more. These methods are not subject to TCPA and FCC regulations and can be used to generate leads without the risk of non-compliance.
  4. Maintain records: Real estate investors should maintain records of all text messages and calls made to leads. These records should include the date and time of the message or call, the content of the message or call, and the phone number of the lead. This information can be used to prove compliance in case of any legal disputes.

As the regulatory landscape shifts, real estate professionals must remain proactive in understanding and adapting to both current and upcoming requirements. Prioritizing compliance with the FCC’s latest rulings will not only protect businesses from potential legal issues, but also contribute to the overall sustainability and reputation of their operations in an increasingly regulated market. By following these strategies, real estate investors will be on track to stay compliant with TCPA and FCC regulations while still effectively utilizing telemarketing and text messaging as powerful lead-generation tools.

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