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AGO 1954 No. 325 - September 30, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

REAL ESTATE BROKERS ‑- LICENSING BRANCH OFFICES

Brokers who employ salesmen in distant cities for the purpose of transacting business there must establish a branch office in accordance with RCW 18.85.190.

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                                                              September 30, 1954

Honorable Della Urquhart
Director of Licenses
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 325


Dear Mrs. Urquhart:

            You have requested our opinion on the following problem.

            Real estate brokers are employing salesmen who live in distant cities.  The salesmen seldom, if ever, visit the broker's office.  The broker includes in his advertisements the salesman's name and phone number, thereby creating the impression that the broker has an independent agent in the distant city with whom the public may deal.  The broker, however, has not established a branch office in the distant city.  You ask whether this is contrary to law.

            Our answer is in the affirmative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The only locations a real estate broker may utilize for the transaction of business, pertaining to his profession, is his established place of business described in his license and properly licensed branch offices.  RCW 18.85.180 provides:

            "Every licensed real estate broker must have and maintain an office in this state accessible to the public which shall serve as his office for the transaction of business.  Any office so established must comply with the zoning requirements of city or county ordinances and the broker's license must be prominently displayed therein."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            RCW 18.85.190 provides:

            "A real estate broker may apply to the director for authority to establish one or more branch offices under the same name as the main office upon the payment of five dollars for each branch office.  The director shall issue a duplicate license for each of the branch offices showing the location of the main office and the particular branch.  Each duplicate license shall be prominently displayed in the office for which it is issued.  Each branch office shall be required to have at least one licensed broker authorized by the designated broker to perform the duties of a broker as herein described."  (Emphasis supplied)

            If a broker is to conduct business in a distant city he must have a branch office there established.  This statutory requirement insures that distant salesmen will receive personal day to day supervision from a licensed associate broker.  It also assures the public of the physical presence of a broker who is qualified by experience and training to transact real estate business.

            In conclusion, brokers who employ salesmen in distant cities for the purpose of transacting business there must establish a branch office in accordance with RCW 18.85.190.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


E. ALBERT MORRISON
Assistant Attorney General

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