Dave Tanner
In accordance with the terms of the three way agreement NAR, C.A.R. and SAR have been aggressively enforcing the terms of the variable dues formula. Under this policy a REALTOR® broker is responsible for payment of REALTOR® dues for every licensee working for that broker. This amount is reduced by the dues paid directly by any of those licensees. If an individual licensee has not paid their dues the REALTOR® broker is responsible for paying them. If the REALTOR® broker pays those dues the associate is still not a REALTOR® and is not entitled to receive Member services until they apply and are approved for membership. If the REALTOR® broker fails or refuses to pay the dues then the association is obligated to terminate member services to that REALTOR® broker. A REALTOR® associate of that broker is only authorized to receive member services if the broker is a REALTOR® member. Once the broker is suspended, all member services to all licensees associated with that broker must also be suspended. SAR has been providing reminder notices to all brokers of this requirement for the past several weeks. They have been advised that the last day to insure compliance was June 28, 2013. As I write this article we are preparing to terminate services to non-compliant firms on July 6, 2013. But this is only one of the issues involved in non-compliance. ZipForm® is a member service provided by C.A.R. to Members at no additional charge. Once a Member’s services are suspended, access to zipForm® will be denied. If a non-REALTOR® wants to use zipForm® they can purchase an individual license for about $1,000 per year. If a non-REALTOR® uses zipForm® without purchasing a license they are violating copyright law. C.A.R. has been aggressively pursuing action against such persons. After all, they are stealing a benefit that the REALTOR® members are paying for. An even greater issue is that California Business and Professions Code Section 10177(e) provides that the Commissioner can suspend or revoke the license of any licensee who “willfully used the term “realtor” or a trade name or insignia of membership in a real estate organization of which the licensee is not a member.” This means that anyone claiming to be but not currently a member of Masters Club, CRS, CRB, etc. could lose their license. More pointedly on the topic at hand, any non-REALTOR® licensee working for a company with the word REALTOR® in the name could be facing loss of license just for using the company name. Likewise if they used a business card, stationary or forms with the word REALTOR® or the REALTOR® insignia on them. There are some very limited exceptions to having to pay member dues for selected licensees not actively engaged in listing or selling real estate and those have been spelled out in detail to the brokers. The safest and best solution for all licensees is to insure that their member dues are properly paid. For all the benefits to be received and all the trouble to be avoided, the payment of annual REALTOR® dues should be considered a real bargain.