Thursday, February 2, 2017

Real Estate Broker paying commission to Real Estate Salesperson's corporation

On March 10, 2016, the Department of State was asked:

"[what is] the procedure for a broker's payment to a salesperson or associate broker's corporation rather than to the salesperson or associate broker individually?  

In addition, could you tell me whether said corporation can only be in the name of the salesperson or associate broker? 

Finally, must the salesperson or associate broker be the only shareholder in the corporation or can several salespersons and/or brokers have a corporation together when, for instance, they are working as a team?”

In reading Real Property Law §442, the DOS opined that it is permissible for a Real Estate Broker to pay commission directly to a Real Estate Salesperson's corporation, but ONLY where all shareholders of the corporation or members of the limited liability company are duly licensed and associated with the paying Real Estate Broker.

The takeaway is Real Estate Brokers are charged with confirming that associated Real Estate Salesperson's entities are solely owned by the Real Estate Salesperson(s) associated with the Real Estate Broker.

Moving forward, Real Estate Brokers should require an ownership affidavit setting forth all owners of the entity from any Real Estate Salesperson who requests direct payment to an entity where such affidavit should also provide an indemnification and hold-harmless coupled with the payment of legal fees and costs to the Real Estate Broker should the information be false and lead to damage to the Real Estate Broker.