PAR’s Legal Hotline is consistently ranked as one of the most popular and important benefits of being a Pennsylvania Realtor®.
The Hotline fields as many as 5,000 calls per year. To get the best service, and to help ensure that the Hotline is available for as many members as possible, please review these guidelines.
Call only between 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. These hours have been selected to provide flexibility to agents who work differing schedules, while keeping all calls within regular office hours. Every effort is made to return calls on the day they’re made, so you might get a call back outside of those hours depending on how many calls are handled that day. Though you might get a return call after hours, please do not call the Hotline outside of these posted hours. Even if you are able to leave a message, the message cannot be retrieved and the call will not be returned.
Know the issue. The caller should have a full understanding of the situation and be able to answer relevant questions from the Hotline attorney. If it’s your transaction, you should probably call yourself, or maybe with your broker/manager, if that would be helpful. Asking another agent or administrative staff to call when they don’t have the specifics means it will probably be an incomplete question and therefore an incomplete answer.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. If you are asking about a clause in contract, have the document available. “It says something like…” won’t get you as good an answer as “Let me read this to you….”
Have you tried… One of the questions you’re likely to be asked by a Hotline attorney is “Have you talked to your broker or manager about this?” They may have had a similar experience in the past, or your question may be one that comes down to brokerage policy, so that’s a good place to start.
Use your resources. Many of the most common questions can be answered in whole or in part by reviewing resources already available from PAR. Even if you can’t find an answer, reviewing these resources may help you get a better feel for the questions to ask.
Be clear. Because this is a member benefit, Hotline attorneys verify your membership against PAR’s records. If they are unable to verify membership or can’t understand your phone number, the call may not be returned. If you’re unsure of what’s in your membership records, you may want to contact PAR directly before making the Hotline call.
Name dropping. Hotline attorneys don’t need, or want, to know who your client is or what other brokers/agents may be involved in the transaction, so please don’t mention anyone else by name. But to make sure the issue is clear, be sure to describe each person by their role rather than just using ‘him’ or ‘her’ in your question. Bad: “She said the offer was rejected, but then I saw her at the gym and she said it wasn’t presented.” Good: “The listing agent said the seller rejected our offer, but when I saw the seller at the gym, she said that the offer was never presented by the listing agent.”
Hotline attorneys are not mind readers. If you don’t provide complete and accurate information about the subject of your question, Hotline attorneys can’t give you a complete response. Be sure to prepare your question in advance, and include as much detail and background as you can to clarify the question.
The Legal Hotline is not meant as a substitute for your own private legal counsel, nor is it meant to be used as a means of conflict resolution in any dispute. The Hotline is meant solely for the use and benefit of PAR members. Callers should not try to counsel their clients on legal matters based on a call to the Hotline. They must never give the Hotline number to clients; instead, tell clients to seek their own attorneys.
Answers from the Hotline should not be quoted (or even worse, misquoted) in legal documents or proceedings, ethics or arbitration hearings or in correspondence to other persons regarding a dispute. Hotline attorneys do not take sides in any dispute but may refer callers to other resources, like mediation, for dispute resolution assistance.
Callers may not fax or e-mail documents to Hotline attorneys but may refer to PAR Standard Forms used in a transaction of interest.
Callers should, of course, maintain a courteous and civil tone at all times.