Washington State updates agency law and the Law of Real Estate Agency Pamphlet

At Tellus Real Estate Solutions, we’ve received reminders from both the Northwest MLS and the Commercial Brokers Association about the updates.

Some of the updates are simply about terminology (a few years ago, agents were called ‘agents’ and broker meant an agent had a more advanced license, a broker’s license.  I’m not convinced the current terminology is all that much better.  Now, all agents are brokers and the more advanced license is a managing broker’s license (even if that person manages no one).

But there are some more important changes, including clarifying that brokers do NOT own a fiduciary duty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary) to their clients, but their duties are those listed by law.

Northwest MLS Notice

Effective July 28th, the Agency Reform Act (RCW 18.86) and the Law of Real Estate Agency Pamphlet will be revised. The revisions (1) clarify that brokers do not owe fiduciary duties to their clients; and (2) update the terminology in the statute and pamphlet to make it consistent with the license law (RCW 18.85) (e.g. broker, managing broker, real estate firm, etc.). The revisions to RCW 18.86 are available here.

CBA Notice

On Sunday, July 28, 2013, the effective date of the Agency Law revisions, the Law of Agency Pamphlet will be revised. Starting July 28, brokers should only provide the revised pamphlet to buyers and sellers. There were 3 important changes to the agency law:

  • Ensuring that agency law terminology matched the 2010 real estate licensing law changes,
  • Defining when a licensee is dual agent, seller’s agent or buyer’s agent and,
  • Defining licensee duties listed in the agency law are statutory obligations

Tellus Real Estate Solutions has made the updated pamphlet available on our site here: http://tellusre.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/LawofREalEstateAgency2013.pdf
We encourage you to discuss your agent’s (your broker’s) legal duties and the expectations you each have to make sure that you are both on the same page.


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