A licensed real estate salesperson has a fiduciary duty equivalent to the duty owed by the employing broker. A dual agent has fiduciary duties to both the buyer and seller. When a broker is the dual agent of both the buyer and the seller in a real property transaction, the salespersons acting under the broker have the same fiduciary duty to the buyer and the seller as the broker. What is that duty? Continue reading
Real estate brokers owe their clients fiduciary duties—they owe third parties, including adverse parties in a real estate transaction, only duties imposed by statute. The statutory duties owed to third parties include a general obligation of honesty, fairness, and full disclosure. A broker’s specific duties with respect to any listing or information posted with a Multiple Listing Service are specified in Civil Code section 1088. Continue reading
A licensed real estate broker, who is the designated officer for a corporate broker pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 10159.2, is not vicariously liable under traditional agency principles to a third-party for failure to supervise a co-employee salesperson.
The employer corporation may be vicariously liable, but not the individual officer. In order to prevail on a claim which subjects the designated officer to personal liability, the liability must be direct or the result of a principal-agent relationship apart from the statutory supervisory duty contained in section 10159.2. Sandler v. Sanchez.
The successful prosecution of a lawsuit, where only money is involved, is frequently less than one-half the battle. The successful plaintiff may also have to defend an appeal. If plaintiff prevails on appeal, plaintiff still must still collect. If the defendant is insolvent, collection may be impossible.
If the defendant is licensed by the California Department of Real Estate, there is hope for at least partial recovery on the judgment from the Consumer Recovery Account. If the judgment contains specific findings and is the result of intentional fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit, or conversion of trust funds in a transaction requiring a real estate license – plaintiff may be able to look to the recovery fund for satisfaction up to $50,000 per transaction. Continue reading