Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Real Estate Broker Record Retention - Proposed Regulatory Change

Did you know that there are laws about keeping real estate brokerage records?



Currently, the applicable law reads:

§175.23 Records of transactions to be maintained 
(a) Each licensed broker shall keep and maintain for a period of three years, records of each transaction effected through his office concerning the sale or mortgage of one- to four-family dwellings. Such
records shall contain the names and addresses of the seller, the buyer, mortgagee, if any, the purchase price and resale price, if any, amount of deposit paid on contract, amount of commission paid to broker or gross 
profit realized by the broker if purchased by him for resale, expenses of procuring the mortgage loan, if any, the net commission or net profit realized by the broker showing the disposition of all payments made by 
the broker. In lieu thereof each broker shall keep and maintain, in connection with each such transaction a copy of (1) contract of sale, (2) commission agreement, (3) closing statement, (4) statement showing 
disposition of proceeds of mortgage loan.  

(b) Each licensed broker engaged in the business of soliciting and granting mortgage loans to purchasers of one to four family dwellings shall keep and maintain for a period of three years, a record of the name 
of the applicant, the amount of the mortgage loan, the closing statement with the disposition of the mortgage proceeds, a copy of the verification of employment and financial status of the applicant, a copy of the inspection and compliance report with the Baker Law requirements of FHA with the name of the inspector. Such records shall be available to the Department of State at all times upon request.

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However, much of the currently applicable law makes no sense as often a broker does not have a contract of sale in his / her possession and often the broker keeps all records electronically. 

Now, there is a proposal to change the law to reflect reality and the new law would read as follows (underlines being additions to the law):

§175.23 Records of transactions to be maintained 
(a) Each licensed broker shall keep and maintain for a period of three years, paper and/or electronic records of each transaction effected through his or her office concerning the sale [or mortgage] of one- to four-family dwellings. In some transactions, the broker may not be provided a copy of the document required.  In such instances, the broker will not be found to have violated this regulation if said document is not kept and maintained. Records to be kept and maintained shall contain:

 (1) the names and addresses of the seller[,] and the buyer, [mortgagee, if any,] (2) the broker prepared purchase contract or binder, or if the purchase contract is not prepared by the broker, then the purchase price [and resale price, if any,] and the amount of deposit (if collected by broker) [paid on contract], (3) the amount of commission paid to broker, (4) [or g]the gross profit realized by the broker if purchased by him or her for resale, [expenses of procuring the mortgage loan, if any, the net commission or net profit realized by the broker showing the disposition of all payments made by the broker. In lieu thereof each broker shall keep and maintain, in connection with each such transaction a copy of (1) contract of sale, (2) commission agreement, (3) closing statement, (4) statement showing disposition of proceeds of mortgage loan.] (5) any document required under Article 12-A of the Real Property Law and (6) the listing agreement or commission agreement or buyer-broker agreement.  
[(b) Each licensed broker engaged in the business of soliciting and granting mortgage loans to purchasers of one to four family dwellings shall keep and maintain for a period of three years, a record of the name of the applicant, the amount of the mortgage loan, the closing statement with the disposition of the mortgage proceeds, a copy of the verification of employment and financial status of the applicant, a copy of the inspection and compliance report with the Baker Law requirements of FHA with the name of the inspector. Such records shall be available to the Department of State at all times upon request.]

Notate the addition of the sentence "any document required under Article 12-A of the Real Property Law" at the end of the second paragraph. This is a catchall that includes such items as an Agency Disclosure Form and any other document later added to the law.

So, keep an eye on the DOS's Regulatory Activity page to determine when this Recent Proposal will become a Recent Adoption and hence, applicable law, or just keep an eye on the Lieb Blog for simple updates when real estate events happen.