Limitations on Unlicensed Assistants and Lockbox Access

December 15, 2021

- By The MAR Legal Team

A recurring question in the world of real estate brokerage, is “What can my unlicensed assistant legally do?” While Massachusetts license laws do not provide a specific list of dos and don’ts, generally, unlicensed assistants should not be performing activities that bring them into direct contact with customers and clients. Some activities unlicensed assistants may partake in are: 

  • General administrative tasks, such as answering the phones and sending mailers  
  • Placing and removing signs on listed properties  
  • Scheduling appointments for the licensee  
  • Preparing open house materials  

Activities in which an unlicensed assistant should never engage in are: 

  • Providing specific details of a property 
  • Discussing marketing strategies or home values 
  • Negotiating the terms of a sale 
  • Presenting offers  
  • Hosting an open house or conducting showings 


Engaging in any activities that exceed the scope of an administrative task could result in a violation of Massachusetts real estate licensing laws and subject that individual to sanctions as a result. 

Recently, we have also received quite a few questions that involve buyer agents providing their clients unaccompanied access to listed properties via a code to the lockbox. A REALTOR® who provides an unlicensed individual with a lockbox code or Supra access is likely in violation of Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-16, of the Code of Ethics, as well as the rules governing the use of the lockbox itself. Additionally, such unauthorized access could rise to the level of trespassing. A buyer agent who is unable to accompany their client to a showing should request another agent in their office accompany the client, or ask that the listing agent show the property. A buyer agent should never ask an unlicensed assistant to provide a client access to a listed property.