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AGLO 1976 No. 8 - February 02, 1976
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

LICENSES ‑- REAL ESTATE ‑- LICENSING OF NONRESIDENT REAL ESTATE SALESMEN

Nothing in chapter 18.85 RCW, relating to the licensing of real estate salesmen, prohibits the issuance of a real estate license to a person whose residence is outside the state of Washington but works full time for a resident broker.

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                                                                 February 2, 1976

Honorable James P. Kuehnle
State Representative, 4th District
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington 98504                                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGLO 1976 No. 8

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you have requested our opinion on the following two questions regarding the licensing of real estate salesmen:

            "1) 'Do the statutes of the State of Washington (Chapter 18.85) [[Chapter 18.85 RCW]]prohibit the issuance of a real estate salesman's license to an individual whose residence is outside of the State of Washington, but whose intended vocation is to work full time for a resident broker, conducting business within the State of Washington?

            "2) May an individual, who has been issued a real estate salesman's license while he was a resident of the State of Washington, continue to operate under that license and under renewals of that license, even though he may move his legal residence across a state line to another state, but continue to operate out of the same broker's office within the State of Washington as before?'"

            We answer your first question in the negative and your second question in the affirmative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 18.85 RCW relates to real estate brokers and salesmen; and RCW 18.85.100 provides that:

            "It shall be unlawful for any person to act as a real estate broker, associate real estate broker, or real estate salesman without first obtaining a license  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] therefor, and otherwise complying with the provisions of this chapter.

            ". . ."

            RCW 18.85.120 then sets forth the conditions to be met by all applicants for either a real estate broker's or real estate salesman's license ". . . with the exception of applicants meeting the requirements of RCW 18.85.161, . . ."  Among the requirements of RCW 18.85.120 is the following, as set forth in subsection (3) thereof:

            "(3) If the applicant is a nonresident of this state, give an irrevocable consent that suits and actions may be commenced against him in any county of this state in which the plaintiff resides, and that service of any process or pleadings may be made by delivery thereof to the director.  Such service shall be held in all courts as valid and binding upon the applicant.  The irrevocable consent shall be in a form prescribed by the director, acknowledged before a notary public and, if the applicant is a corporation, shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the resolution of the board of directors authorizing the execution of the same.  Any process or pleading so served upon the director shall be in duplicate copies, one of which shall be filed in the office of the director, and the other immediately forwarded by registered mail to the office address of the applicant given in his application, and service shall be deemed to have been made upon the applicant on the third day following the deposit in the mail of such copy."

            The final statute to be noted before responding to your questions is RCW 18.85.161.  This statute, to which reference is made in RCW 18.85.120, supra, deals with the licensing of nonresident real estate brokers and reads, in material part, as follows:

            "A nonresident broker may apply for and be issued a nonresident broker's license upon compliance with all of the provisions of this chapter.  He shall not be required to maintain a definite place of business within  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] this state, but shall retain in this state all funds arising from transactions within this state, until such funds are distributed to the proper parties involved, and he shall be subject to the requirements of this chapter relating to the handling and depositing of closing funds.

            ". . .

            "Salesmen employed by a nonresident broker who has been issued a nonresident broker's license may operate for such broker in this state upon payment of the license fee required of salesmen during such time as they continue licensed under the nonresident broker in this state and if such salesman maintains a license in good standing under his broker in his home state."

            Question (1):

            Nowhere in any of these statutes, or in any other provisions of chapter 18.85 RCW, do we find any provision which, either expressly or by implication, prohibits the issuance of a real estate salesman's license to an individual whose residence is outside of the state of Washington but whose intended vocation is to work full time for a resident broker, conducting business within the state of Washington.  In fact, under RCW 18.85.161, supra, even if the broker for whom a particular salesman plans to work is a nonresident broker, the salesman could operate for such broker in this state so long as the broker had obtained a nonresident broker's license.

            Moreover, aside from the absence of any such prohibition it appears to us that RCW 18.85.120(3),supra, actually contemplates the possibility of not only a nonresident broker but a nonresident licensed salesman as well.  In order to obtain a salesman's license such an individual must give the consent to suit and service of process described in that subsection but once he has done so the fact of his nonresident status will not bar his licensure.

            Question (2):

            This negative answer to your first question, in turn, necessitates an affirmative answer to your second.   [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] An individual who has been issued a real estate salesman's license while he was a resident of the state of Washington may continue to operate under that license and renewals thereof even though he moves his legal residence across the state line to another state while continuing to operate out of the same broker's office within the state of Washington as before.  Inasmuch as in state residence is not legally required for the issuance of a real estate salesman's license in the first place, it most certainly is not required for the continuation of such a license.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

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