Supervision of sales agents tightened; Panel requires brokers to have written rules, hold regular meetings


The Maryland Real Estate Commission voted yesterday to tighten supervision of sales agents by their brokers.

The 7-0 vote, with one absention, came after a 10-month study by a committee of commissioners and industry professionals. It followed assurances from the attorney general's office that closer supervision would not change agents' status as independent contractors.

Most sales agents operate as independent contractors and not as employees.

Brokers, however, are required by law to "exercise reasonable and adequate supervision" of its sales agents.

According to Elizabeth A. Beggs, executive director of the commission, the commissioners took up the issue in December because they felt there was need for a more enforceable way of handling consumer complaints.

Absent in the final proposal was language in previous drafts that would have required agents to attend sales meetings.

"This is a fair exchange to have better trained agents more knowledgeable agents," said Commissioner J. D. Williams.

"This will cause fewer [disciplinary] hearings when agents get themselves into trouble because of [a lack] of supervision."

Brokers have had the responsibility to exercise "reasonable and adequate" supervision, but now the commission will require them, among other things, to:

* Hold regular office meetings on at least a bimonthly basis.

Have written procedures and policies to insure that each transaction is adequately supervised and is compliant with laws and regulations.

* Track attendance at sales meetings.

* Show evidence of discussions about advertising as well as contract and listing information.

The proposal will be published in the Maryland Register and will move to the General Assembly's Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee.

After 45 days, the proposal will either become effective or be resubmitted for review by the commission.

Pub Date: 10/21/99

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