On January 1, 2024, important revisions to the law that governs real estate brokerage relationships (RCW 18.86) in Washington State – otherwise known as the “Agency Law” – become effective. These are the first significant revisions since the Agency Law took effect in 1997. The revisions, which are explained in detail in this bulletin and set forth in Senate Bill 5191, include the following:
- Requiring real estate firms to enter into a written brokerage services agreement with a buyer as soon as reasonably practical after commencing real estate brokerage services for the buyer;
- Changing the term “dual agent” to “limited dual agent” to reflect that a broker representing both a buyer and a seller in the same transaction is limited in the representation that the broker can provide;
- Giving buyers and sellers the clear choice whether to consent to an individual broker acting as a limited dual agent by requiring the consent to limited dual agency to be separately initialed by the consumer;
- Clarifying that a broker owes certain duties in RCW 18.86.030 to all parties in a transaction;
- Ensuring complete transparency with regard to compensation by requiring that real estate firms disclose to all parties any compensation offered to a firm by another party or another real estate firm;
- Modernizing and simplifying the “pamphlet” that brokers must provide to consumers which explains general information about real estate brokerage relationships. Below is a link to the Legal Bulletin from the NorthWest MLS.