Transactions and recordkeeping — Trust accounts — Requirements.
(1) Brokers and managing brokers must submit complete copies of their transactions to their firm. The designated broker shall keep adequate records of all real estate transactions handled by or through the firm or firms to which the designated broker is registered. The records shall include, but are not limited to, a copy of the purchase and sale agreement, earnest money receipt, and an itemization of the receipts and disbursements with each transaction. These records and all other records specified by the director by rule are open to inspection by the director or the director's authorized representatives.
(2) If any licensee exercises control over real estate transaction funds, those funds are considered trust funds.
(3) Every real estate licensee shall deliver or cause to be delivered to all parties signing the same, within a reasonable time after signing, purchase and sale agreements, listing agreements, and all other like or similar instruments signed by the parties.
(4) Every real estate firm that keeps separate real estate trust fund accounts must keep the accounts in a recognized Washington state depository. A real estate firm must maintain an adequate amount of funds in the trust fund accounts to facilitate the opening of the trust fund accounts or to prevent the closing of the trust fund accounts.
(5) All licensees shall keep separate and apart and physically segregated from the licensees' own funds, all funds or moneys including advance fees of clients that are being held by the licensees pending the closing of a real estate sale or transaction, or that have been collected for the clients and are being held for disbursement for or to the clients.
(6) A firm is not required to maintain a trust fund account for transactions concerning a purchase and sale agreement that instructs the broker to deliver the earnest money check directly to a named closing agent or to the seller.
(7) Brokers must deposit all funds into their firm's trust bank account the next banking day following receipt of the funds unless the purchase and sale agreement provides for deferred deposit or delivery. In that event, the broker must promptly deposit or deliver funds in accordance with the terms of the purchase and sale agreement.
(8)(a) If a real estate broker receives or maintains earnest money or client funds for deposit, the real estate firm shall maintain a pooled interest-bearing trust account for deposit of client funds, with the exception of property management trust accounts.
(b) The interest accruing on this account, net of any reasonable and appropriate financial institution service charges or fees, shall be paid to the state treasurer for deposit in the Washington housing trust fund created in RCW 43.185.030 and the real estate education program account created in RCW 18.85.321. Appropriate service charges or fees are those charges made by financial institutions on other demand deposit or "now" accounts. The firm or designated broker is not required to notify the client of the intended use of the funds.
(c) The department shall adopt rules that will serve as guidelines in the choice of an account specified in this subsection.
(9) If trust funds are claimed by more than one party, the designated broker or designated broker's delegate must promptly provide written notification to all contracting parties to a real estate transaction of the intent of the designated broker or designated broker's delegate to disburse client funds. The notification must include the names and addresses of all parties to the contract, the amount of money held and to whom it will be disbursed, and the date of disbursement that must occur no later than thirty consecutive days after the notification date.
(10) For an account created under subsection (8) of this section, the designated or managing broker shall direct the depository institution to:
(a) Remit interest or dividends, net of any reasonable and appropriate service charges or fees, on the average monthly balance in the account, or as otherwise computed in accordance with an institution's standard accounting practice, at least quarterly, to the state treasurer for deposit in the housing trust fund created by RCW 43.185.030 and the real estate education program account created in RCW 18.85.321; and
(b) Transmit to the *director of community, trade, and economic development a statement showing the name of the person or entity for whom the remittance is spent, the rate of interest applied, and the amount of service charges deducted, if any, and the account balance(s) of the period in which the report is made, with a copy of the statement to be transmitted to the depositing person or firm.
(11) The *director of community, trade, and economic development shall forward a copy of the reports required by subsection (10) of this section to the department to aid in the enforcement of the requirements of this section consistent with the normal enforcement and auditing practices of the department.
(12)(a) This section does not relieve any real estate broker, managing broker, or firm of any obligation with respect to the safekeeping of clients' funds.
(b) Any violation by real estate brokers, managing brokers, or firms of any of the provisions of this section, RCW 18.85.361, or chapter 18.235 RCW is grounds for disciplinary action against the licenses issued to the brokers, managing brokers, or firms.
[2008 c 23 § 37; 1999 c 48 § 1; 1995 c 399 § 7; 1993 c 50 § 2; 1988 c 286 § 2; 1987 c 513 § 1; 1957 c 52 § 44; 1953 c 235 § 13; 1951 c 222 § 19. Prior: 1947 c 203 § 4, part; 1945 c 111 § 7, part; 1943 c 118 § 4, part; 1941 c 252 § 18, part; Rem. Supp. 1947 § 8340-41, part; prior: 1925 ex.s. c 129 § 12, part. Formerly RCW 18.85.310.]
| *Reviser's note: The "director of community, trade, and economic development" was changed to the "director of commerce" by 2009 c 565.|
Effective date -- 1993 c 50: See note following RCW 18.85.061.
Effective date -- 1987 c 513: "This act shall take effect January 1, 1988." [1987 c 513 § 15.]
Severability -- 1987 c 513: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1987 c 513 § 13.]