Listings Belong to the Broker, not the Agent
Question: We recently signed a listing agreement to sell our Chandler home. Although the broker’s name was typed on the listing agreement, only our real estate agent signed the listing agreement. Is our listing agreement with the broker, or with our real estate agent? Or both?
Answer: Your listing agreement is with the broker only. The real estate agent can only sign on behalf of the broker. The distinction becomes important if the real estate agent goes to a new broker. Although many brokers will let real estate agents transfer their listings to the new broker, the real estate agent has no right to transfer any listing to the new broker.
Note: Another recent question regarding the broker-agent relationship involves liability.
Recent Ruling Leaves Agent-Broker Liability Questions
Question: In real estate school we were taught that under Arizona law a real estate agent was an employee of the broker. The reason was that the broker was required to reasonably supervise all real estate agents under the license of the broker. Therefore, the broker as the employer was liable for all wrongful acts of the real estate agent. An Arizona court recently ruled, however, that a real estate agent is legally an independent contractor, and not an employee. Therefore, the broker has no liability for the acts of the real estate agent. Has the law we learned in real estate school changed?
Answer: The law today is unclear. On August 23, 2016, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that a broker had no liability for the negligence of a real estate agent who crossed a median and caused a fatal automobile accident after leaving a listing appointment. The Arizona Court of Appeals said that there was no liability of the broker because this real estate agent is an independent contractor, not an employee. Whether this ruling will apply to wrongful acts by a real estate agent acting specifically as a real estate agent (e.g., forging a deed or failing to disclose a leaky roof) is unclear.
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