The Law of Real Estate Agency
This pamphlet describes your legal rights in dealing with a real estate firm or broker. Please read it carefully before signing any documents.
The following is only a brief summary of the attached law:
Sec. 1. Definitions. Defines the specific terms used in the law.
Sec. 2. Relationships between Brokers and the Public. Prescribes that a broker who works with a buyer or tenant represents that buyer or tenant—unless the broker is the listing agent, a seller's subagent, a dual agent, the seller personally or the parties agree otherwise. Also prescribes that in a transaction involving two different brokers licensed to the same real estate firm, the firm's designated broker and any managing broker responsible for the supervision of both brokers, are dual agents and each broker solely represents his or her client—unless the parties agree in writing that both brokers are dual agents.
Sec. 3. Duties of a Broker Generally. Prescribes the duties that are owed by all brokers, regardless of who the broker represents. Requires disclosure of the broker's agency relationship in a specific transaction.
Sec. 4. Duties of a Seller's Agent. Prescribes the additional duties of a broker representing the seller or landlord only.
Sec. 5. Duties of a Buyer's Agent. Prescribes the additional duties of a broker representing the buyer or tenant only.
Sec. 6. Duties of a Dual Agent. Prescribes the additional duties of a broker representing both parties in the same transaction, and requires the written consent of both parties to the broker acting as a dual agent.
Sec. 7. Duration of Agency Relationship. Describes when an agency relationship begins and ends. Provides that the duties of accounting and confidentiality continue after the termination of an agency relationship.
Sec. 8. Compensation. Allows real estate firms to share compensation with cooperating real estate firms. States that payment of compensation does not necessarily establish an agency relationship. Allows brokers to receive compensation from more than one party in a transaction with the parties' consent.
Sec. 9. Vicarious Liability. Eliminates the liability of a party for the conduct of the party's agent or subagent, unless the principal participated in or benefited from the conduct or the agent or subagent is insolvent. Also limits the liability of a broker for the conduct of a subagent.
Sec. 10. Imputed Knowledge and Notice. Eliminates the common law rule that notice to or knowledge of an agent constitutes notice to or knowledge of the principal.
Sec. 11. Interpretation. This law establishes statutory duties which replace common law fiduciary duties owed by an agent to a principal.
Sec. 12. Short Sale. Prescribes an additional duty of a firm representing the seller of owner-occupied real property in a short sale.
(2)(a) The pamphlet required under RCW 18.86.030(1)(f) must also include the following disclosure: When the seller of owner-occupied residential real property enters into a listing agreement with a real estate firm where the proceeds from the sale may be insufficient to cover the costs at closing, it is the responsibility of the real estate firm to disclose to the seller in writing that the decision by any beneficiary or mortgagee, or its assignees, to release its interest in the real property, for less than the amount the borrower owes, does not automatically relieve the seller of the obligation to pay any debt or costs remaining at closing, including fees such as the real estate firm's commission.
(b) For the purposes of this subsection, "owner-occupied real property" means real property consisting solely of a single-family residence, a residential condominium unit, or a residential cooperative unit that is the principal residence of the borrower.