I am a real estate agent and a friend of mine asked me to provide some information regarding the school zoning for a particular home. Have we entered into an agency relationship?
It is very common for your friends to ask you all sorts of questions concerning real estate. Just because a friend asks a question and you provide a response does not necessarily mean an agency relationship has been created.
Based on the facts in your particular question, you probably have not entered into an agency relationship.
According to La. R.S. 9:3892, a licensee engaged in any real estate transaction shall be considered to be representing the person with whom he is working as a designated agent unless there is a written agreement between the broker and the person providing that there is a different relationship or the licensee is performing only ministerial acts on behalf of the person.
Put another way, an agency relationship does not exist if the real
estate agent is performing only ministerial acts on behalf of the person.
This begs the question: what are considered “ministerial acts”?
According to La. R.S. 9:3891, “Ministerial acts” means those acts that a licensee may perform for a person that are informative in nature. Examples of these acts include but are not limited to:
- Responding to phone inquiries by persons as to the availability and pricing of brokerage services.
- Responding to phone inquiries from a person concerning the price or location of property.
- Conducting an open house and responding to questions about the property from a person.
- Setting an appointment to view property.
- Responding to questions from persons walking into a licensee’s office concerning brokerage services offered or particular properties.
- Accompanying an appraiser, inspector, contractor, or similar third party on a visit to a property.
- Describing a property or the property’s condition in response to a person’s inquiry.
- Completing business or factual information for a person represented by another licensee on an offer or contract to purchase.
- Showing a person through a property being sold by an owner on his or her own behalf.
- Referral to another broker or service provider.
Whether an agency relationship has been created can sometimes be a complex issue. If you have questions regarding whether an agency relationship has been created, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney.
For any questions regarding this email, please contact me at email@example.com.
H.L. “Rye” Tuten, III, is a Title Attorney/Real Estate Closing Attorney and Owner of Tuten Title & Escrow, LLC. Formerly assigned by RICE Insurance to defend real estate agents throughout Acadiana, much of his more than nine years’ litigation experience is with real estate concerns.