By Stephen L. Fussell, Senior Consumer Protection Officer
Many firms are encouraging or even requiring full broker associates to work from their homes in order to reduce the expense of corporate office space. In addition, more brokers than ever before are choosing to work at home because of the convenience of doing so. For these reasons, the Commission wants brokers and brokers-in-charge to be aware of certain limitations and responsibilities.
A broker on provisional status is required to work under the active supervision of a (BIC) and, therefore, must conduct most business from the BIC’s office. The amount of time that can be spent working at home is largely restricted. If a provisional broker is working excessively at home, the BIC and the broker are not satisfying the requirements of the Commission’s rule.
Any BIC with one or more provisional brokers as associates must provide work space to satisfy the supervisory requirement. While provisional brokers may make occasional telephone calls from their homes and the like, most of their activities must be performed in the offices of their BIC’s.
Full brokers who are associated with a firm may work from home as much as they desire provided that they deliver to their BIC’s any agency agreements, transaction documents and trust monies in a timely manner.
As a practical matter, a full broker must visit or at least communicate with the corporate office regularly to attend to firm-related matters and to receive mail, especially that from the Commission which is sent to a broker’s business address of record. If the Commission sends a Letter of Inquiry, a communication often arising from a complaint, a response is required within fourteen (14) days of receipt.
Among the attractions of real estate brokerage have been the opportunities for brokers to control their work schedules and to choose their work locations. At the same time, brokers and BIC’s need to be aware of and adhere to these guiding rules and practices relating to working from home.
This article came from the May 2012-Vol43-1 edition of the bulletin.