State Roundup: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Washington, and Texas

January 1, 1996


MONTGOMERY--The state legislature last fall passed a new real estate agency law, joining about two dozen states that have revised agency laws since 1993.

Among other things, the new Alabama law creates a statutory agency relationship as applied to real estate brokerage and defines duties for each type of agency relationship.


DENVER--A study conducted by the Colorado Real Estate Commission supports the idea that the state's transaction brokerage law has been a success, says the Colorado Association of REALTORS®.

The study shows that 89 percent of Colorado brokers decline to accept subagency, says Kevin Cook, immediate past president of CAR. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said they use transactional broker representation for in-house sales, says Cook.

Transaction brokerage is a relationship in which the broker is not an agent for either the buyer or the seller.


ORLANDO--The Florida Association of REALTORS® is supporting new agency legislation for the 1996 session of the Legislature. The proposed legislation would create, among other things, a statutory agency relationship as applied to real estate brokerage.

TALLAHASSEE--The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has threatened to take a dozen Florida title insurance companies to court for allegedly making improper payments to title agents for customer referrals, according to press reports.

HUD officials say the practice has pushed up the cost of title insurance in Florida faster than in any other state.


ATLANTA--The state is offering public on-line access to property tax transfer declaration forms. The forms are available for a fee through a computer service the state calls RealLink. The forms will appear on-line within 45 days after they've been filed in any of the state's counties.

RealLink expects to have additional real estate information available soon, including deed digests, land survey information, and census tract and plat maps.


BALTIMORE--The Maryland Real Estate Commission has invited representatives of four nearby states--Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia--and the District of Columbia to meet in January to discuss issues related to real estate licensing reciprocity.

The Board of Directors of the National Association of REALTORS® voted in November to encourage license reciprocity.


EDINA--Twenty-two of the state's 24 associations of REALTORS® have signed up for a new, centralized professional standards system, according to the Minnesota Association of REALTORS®.

The new system allows for greater efficiency and consistency in enforcement procedures, says MAR. Each ethics complaint and request for arbitration is reviewed by the state's Grievance Committee.


TRENTON--An appellate court has granted real estate licensees the right to be paid for expenses incurred in providing certain mortgage-related services. The decision caps a 12-year battle by the New Jersey Association of REALTORS® to allow practitioners to recoup costs for such services, including computerized loan origination. In its decision, the court upheld a series of regulations issued by the state Real Estate Commission in 1992.


NORTH CANTON--Incoming licensees are better educated and more committed to the profession than in the past, Norma Good, a 15-year real estate instructor, recently told Ohio REALTOR®.

"I see very few students coming in now who say, 'Oh, I just need this temporarily to make some extra money.' That doesn't happen anymore," says Good, who was named instructor of the year in 1995 by the Ohio Association of REALTORS®.


AUSTIN--A new real estate agency law goes into effect in January, clarifying what salespeople must disclose about their agency relationship with buyers and sellers and simplifying the disclosure process.

Texas joins about two dozen other states that have revised their agency laws since 1993. The new law also defines the duties and responsibilities of brokerages that wish to act as dual agents.

The law creates a new term, "intermediary," to describe what used to be called a "dual agent." An intermediary broker has the power to appoint two salespeople from his office, one to represent buyers and one to represent sellers in an in-house transaction.


SEATTLE--Voters last November rejected a private property rights referendum by a vote of 60 percent to 40 percent. The measure, known as Referendum 48, would have required state and local governments to compensate property owners for any decrease in land value resulting from new environmental preservation legislation.

About 20 states have recently passed property rights laws. Washington's proposed law would have been the most stringent, according to the Washington Association of REALTORS®, which supported the unsuccessful proposal.

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