Oklahoma Law Spells Out Licensees' Duties

October 1, 2000

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—A landmark brokerage relationship law that takes effect Nov. 1 makes Oklahoma the seventh state to spell out a neutral transaction brokerage relationship between practitioners and customers.

The Oklahoma law grew out of a four-year effort by the state’s real estate commission and the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®. It replaces the state’s common agency law with a specific menu of responsibilities for licensees. It also drops broker relationships with clients and customers into one of two categories, transaction brokerage and single-party brokerage.

Under the law, it’s presumed that licensees are acting as transaction brokers unless they and their customers sign a single-party brokerage agreement.

There’s no small amount of nervousness on the part of brokers and salespeople as the Nov. 1 date gets nearer, says Lisa Yates, OAR director of governmental affairs. “But licensees should come to appreciate having guidelines that weren’t there before.”

In transaction brokerage, the licensee acts as a neutral third-party assistant that provides help without acting on behalf of the customer.

In single-party brokerage, the licensee enters into a written agreement to act on the customer’s behalf. As with current agency law, customers who’ve entered into a single-party brokerage relationship can be held “vicariously liable” in certain cases for the errors and omissions of their broker. At the same time, licensees in a single-party brokerage arrangement are not to be understood as acting in an agency relationship with their client.

The main benefit for licensees and consumers is the detailed enumeration of the broker’s responsibilities under the two types of brokerage, says Anne Woody, deputy director of the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission. Now, both parties will know upfront what’s expected in the relationship.

Other states with transaction brokerage laws are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and South Dakota. For a copy of the Oklahoma law, contact the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission at 405/521-3387.

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