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AGO 1952 No. 225 - January 24, 1952
AGO Opinion Header Image
Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

REAL ESTATE BROKERS AND SALESMEN.

1. An associate broker may be licensed as a real estate salesman upon surrendering his associate broker's license without taking the real estate salesman's examination.

2. Such former associate broker, licensed as a salesman may not again be licensed as a broker without first passing the broker's examination.

3. A broker, whether active or inactive, must pay his renewal fee, must supply an active fidelity bond and give to the director the address of his official place of business and the director may permit this to be the license department in the case of an inactive broker.

4. The real estate director has authority to permit an applicant for a real estate salesman's license to take an examination without associating himself with a broker beforehand; however, he may, under established departmental policy require this information.

                                                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                 January 24, 1952

Honorable Della Urquhart
Director of Licenses
Olympia, Washington                                                                                               Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 225

Dear Madam:

            We acknowledge receipt of your request for an opinion of this office on four questions which are stated substantially as follows:

            1.  May an associate broker, under the provisions of chapter 222, Laws of 1951, amending earlier acts, surrender his broker's license and be licensed as a real estate salesman without taking a salesman's examination?

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            2.  If such person later desires, after being licensed as a real estate salesman, to again be licensed as a broker or associate broker, may the director so license him without his passing the broker's examination?

            3.  "If a broker decides to retire from the real estate field for a short period of time, can he pay the renewal fee for a broker's license, return his broker's license to this office for temporary custody, and let his bond be lifted or let it lapse?  In other words, can he maintain his status as a broker, leave the field temporarily, and return at a later date, at which time he would re‑instate [[reinstate]]his bond?"

            4.  "Does the Director of Licenses have authority to permit an applicant for real estate salesman's license to take the examination without associating himself with a broker before he does so?  It has been the custom of this office in the past to require all salesmen to become affiliated with a regular real estate broker before he files his application for salesman."

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

            1. An associate broker may be licensed as a real estate salesman upon surrendering his associate broker's license without taking the real estate salesman's examination.

            2. Such former associate broker, licensed as a salesman may not again be licensed as a broker without first passing the broker's examination.

            3. A broker, whether active or inactive, must pay his annual renewal fee, must supply an active fidelity bond and give to the director the address of his official place of business and the director may permit this to be the License Department as to inactive brokers.

 

            4. The real estate director has authority to permit an applicant for a permit for a real estate salesman's license to take an examination without associating himself with a broker beforehand.  However, he may, under established departmental policy, require this information.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Under the provisions of chapter 222, Laws of 1951, amending earlier acts, a new classification in the real estate law was created, namely that of associate broker.  Such person is a broker qualified by having passed the broker's examination but is associated with a designated broker.  Since the requirements in a broker's examination are more exacting than those of salesman [(6) section 11, chapter 222, Laws of 1951, RCW 18.85.120] common sense dictates that such broker has already demonstrated by examination what knowledge is required of a salesman, hence the director may waive the salesman's examination.  The reverse however, would not hold true and when one is licensed as a salesman and wishes to be licensed as a broker, he must demonstrate anew that he possesses the necessary knowledge to be licensed as a broker, even though he may have been a broker at an earlier time.

            In relation to your third question, a study of the real estate code demonstrates that the legislature, in order to protect the public more effectively and regulate and control the practices of real estate brokers, required that all brokers be licensed and to be licensed they must furnish to the director the necessary bond and official business address where such person intends to carry on his business.  See section 10, chapter 222, Laws of 1951, supra (RCW 18.85.120).  Such requirements exist for annual licensing also and the director possesses no power either to vary these requirements or to issue the annual license without said requirements having been complied with.

            It may well be that the legislature considered that the public should be protected against sporadic activities of retired or inactive brokers.  At any rate, there is no statutory exemption as to inactive brokers, and the director is therefore not authorized to create any exemption as to them.  One temporarily retired or inactive must, therefore, comply with the same requirements as are asked of active brokers; namely, annual renewal of the license fee, sufficient bond and official business address.  The last requirement, which is called for in section 15 of the act and by RCW 18.85.120, is one necessitating the director's discretion as applied to inactive brokers and your question contains a reasonable suggestion, namely that the inactive broker may have his license at the office of the director since he has no place of business.  We see no objection to allowing this provided the other requirements are met.

            Your fourth question is not covered by the real estate code.  The real estate director has authority to permit an applicant for a real estate salesman's license to take an examination without associating himself with a broker beforehand.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            It is incumbent upon the director, however, to pass upon such applicant's honesty and reputation and it may, therefore, be necessary that he know with whom such applicant contemplates being associated as a salesman and may require such information in the application.  See section 10, chapter 222, Laws of 1951, RCW 18.85.120.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

PHILIP W. RICHARDSON
Assistant Attorney General

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