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California Broker Associates Must Register As Such With The B.R.E.

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 26 December 2017 20:05

Effective January 1, 2018, California Real Estate Brokers who are affiliated with a company other than themselves or their own, must notify the Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) of that affiliation. Such persons are commonly called "Broker Associates". In a recent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) post on the bureau's website, the BRE defines the term this way: "A broker-associate is an individual licensed as a real estate broker, but who works in the capacity of a salesperson for another responsible broker or corporation."

As the FAQ makes clear, an associate broker may also work as an independent broker. "[U]nder the Real Estate Law, a broker-associate can work in the capacity of a salesperson for another employing broker(s) and also work as an independent broker. However, an affiliation/employment agreement signed by the responsible broker and the broker-associate may prohibit such activity."

Those potential relationships have not been changed by the newly-effective law (Business and Professions Code 10161.8).

The most significant purpose and effect of the new law is that it creates a means for consumers and others to learn any and all of the affiliations of an associate broker. Prior to this, a broker may have been legally functioning as a sales associate of a company other than his own, yet that information would not appear on the publicly-accessible BRE records. Neither would the record of the company show that he was employed there. The new law changes that.

The Bureau has created a new form (RE 215) which can be used both for informing the Bureau of a new broker-associate affiliation or for the termination of an existing broker-associate affiliation. These forms are supposed to be submitted by January 1, but I suspect there will be some leeway granted on that.

Among the questions that may arise:

  • Can a broker-associate affiliate in a sales capacity with more than one company? Legally, yes, although one or more of the potential affiliate companies may choose to prohibit it contractually.
  • Can a broker function as a broker-associate while still maintaining an independent practice? Yes, though this too would be subject to the employment contract.
  • This new form (RE 215) asks when the broker-associate affiliation began. In many cases that could be measured in years. Is this a problem? No, just enter the date the employment relation began.

Completing these new forms in a timely and effective manner is not rocket science. Nonetheless, I would advise anyone involved to check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the BRE website.

Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors®. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way. His email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Bob Hunt

Bob Hunt is a former director of the National Association of Realtors and is author of the recently published book, "Real Estate the Ethical Way." A graduate of Princeton with a master's degree from UCLA in philosophy, Hunt has served as a U.S. Marine, Realtor association president in South Orange County, and director of the California Association of Realtors, and is an award-winning Realtor. Contact Bob at scbhunt@aol.com.

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