A Bill to Protect Consumers: Specifically Single Agent Dual Agency

Part One of at least Two. Much more to come next week; for now, I’m prepping to show houses in the Charlottesville area for the next three days.

As a consumer, would you agree to Single Agent Dual Agency if you were informed about its’ true limitations?

This bill in the Virginia General Assembly, boldly recommended (and worked on for years) by the Virginia Association of Realtors would accomplish at least two things:

1 – Protect and inform the consumer

2 – Help to emphasize the value of representation of buyers and sellers.

3 – Nothing about dual agency’s perils changes; the only change below is that the limitations are spelled out – for everybody – for the buyers, the sellers, agents

What is single agent dual agency? Whereby the same real estate agent “represents” the buyer and the seller in the same transaction … kinda like hiring the same divorce attorney for both parties.

The only one who benefits from Single Agent Dual Agency? The Realtor.

The highlighted portions are new:


A. A licensee may not act as a dual representative only with unless he has first obtained the written consent of all clients parties to the transaction given after written disclosure of the consequences of such dual representation. Such written consent and disclosure of the brokerage relationship as required by this article shall be presumed to have been given as against any client who signs a disclosure as provided in this section. (i) shall be writing and (ii) may be given to either party at the time prior to the commencement of dual representation. The disclosure shall contain the following provisions:

1. That following the commencement of dual representation, the licensee will be unable to advise either party as to the terms, offers or counteroffers; however, the licensee may have previously advised one party as to terms prior to the commencement of dual representation;

2. That the licensee cannot advise the buyer client as to the suitability of the property, its condition (other than to make any disclosures as required by law of any licensee representing a seller), and cannot advise either party as to repairs of the property to make or request;

3. That the licensee cannot advise either party in any dispute that might later arise relating to the transaction;

4. That the licensee will be acting without familiarity with the client?s needs, client?s experience in the market, or client?s experience in handling real estate transactions unless he has gained that information from earlier contact with the client; and

5. That either party may engage another licensee if he requires additional representation.

B. Such disclosures shall not be deemed to comply with the requirements set out in this section if (i) not signed by the client or (ii) given in a purchase agreement, lease or any other document related to a transaction. Any disclosure and consent that substantially complies with the following shall be deemed in compliance with this disclosure requirement:

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1 Comment

  1. Joe January 14, 2011 at 19:18

    Way to go, Jim. Good start to addressing this bill and I hope you continue to break it down.

    I wish it made it absolutely clear what the words “at the time prior to the commencement of dual representation” mean as I believe many agents deliver the current disclosure, if at all, at the time they are to write an offer.

    I believe a dual agency disclosure should be made prior to the delivery of any real estate related services such as the presentation of any property information or going out on showings, whichever comes first.

    Thanks for addressing this important topic. At least the law will include a requirement that a disclosed dual agent must disclose what services he may or may not be permitted to provide so that the client will realize how the agency relationship has changed and what type of services, information, and advice he will not be getting after all.
    Thanks again,
    Joe

    Reply

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