Lockbox Violations & Access without Permission – Criminal Trespass | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

It is important that all brokers understand the severity of the consequences of entering a home without permission. Not only is it wrong, it could potentially be illegal.  More specifically, it may constitute criminal trespass.

It is extremely important to schedule appointments with the listing broker before showing homes – even if they are vacant. Even after a REALTOR® has scheduled an appointment to show a home, the REALTOR® should ring the doorbell or knock loudly before entering to ensure that they do not walk in on a homeowner. Not only is this a common courtesy, it is an absolute necessity.

Aside from the legal, ethical, and professional consequences, negative actions have a negative effect on the entire industry. REALTORS® are known for abiding by a strict Code of Ethics, for their professionalism and high standards. Just one incident can have a ripple effect and negatively impact an entire industry.

Please understand the following:

  • If someone enters real property without the permission of the owner, the owner can press charges for criminal trespass to real property, which is a class A misdemeanor. For more information on this charge, click here.
  • If someone enters an occupied dwelling without permission, knowing that the dwelling is occupied, the owner can press charges for criminal trespass to a residence, which is now a felony.  For more information on this charge, click here.

Per Section 8.14 of our bylaws, as well as the Ethics Citation Program, violation subjects you to a $2,500 fine with the Chicago Association of REALTORS®.  This fine can be imposed per occurrence.

Thank you for appreciating the severity of this matter.

If you have any questions regarding this topic or anything else related to Professional Standards, please don’t hesitate to contact Amanda Withrow, Senior Director of Professional Standards and Member Care.