Solicitation of Expired Exclusive Listing

Article 16, Part 4

The Complaint

A property was exclusively listed with REALTOR® A who advertised it widely and invited cooperation from other REALTORS®. The property was not sold during the term of REALTOR® A’s listing, although both REALTOR® A and REALTOR® B, a cooperating broker, had shown the property to prospects.
Sometime after the expiration of REALTOR® A’s listing, newspaper advertisements appeared indicating that the property was exclusively listed with REALTOR® B. Shortly thereafter, the property was sold by REALTOR® B.
REALTOR® A confirmed that it was listed with REALTOR® B and then charged REALTOR® B in having failed to respect his exclusive agency status with the client by soliciting the listing. The Grievance Committee referred the complaint for hearing by a Hearing Panel of the Professional Standards Committee. Upon due notice to the parties, a hearing on the complaint was called with REALTORS® A and B present. REALTOR® A’s specific charge was that REALTOR® B knew that the client had originally listed the property with him, REALTOR® A, because he had discussed the property with REALTOR® B during the term of the original listing contract; that during the term of REALTOR® A’s listing, REALTOR® B had shown the property to the same individual who had now purchased the property through REALTOR® B; and that with this knowledge REALTOR® B’s action in soliciting the listing, even after it had expired, was a violation of Article 16.


The Hearing

REALTOR® A told the Hearing Panel that when he had asked for an extension of the original exclusive listing, the client told him that because of a family problem he intended to take the property off the market for a few months, but would consider relisting at a later date.
REALTOR® B conceded that he had known of REALTOR® A’s exclusive listing at the time the listing contract was current; that he had known the term of the listing contract and, hence, knew when it expired; and that he had shown the property to the individual who eventually purchased it. However, he explained, he had no continued contact with the prospect to whom he had originally shown the property. After the expiration date of REALTOR® A’s listing, he was approached by the individual to whom he had originally shown the property and who was still actively interested in purchasing a home. In reviewing the purchaser’s stated requirements and reviewing the market, the property in question seemed to correspond more closely than any other available properties. Knowing that the original listing with REALTOR® A had expired some time ago, REALTOR® B simply called the owner to ask if the property had been relisted with REALTOR® A. Upon learning that REALTOR® A’s exclusive listing had not been extended, REALTOR® B told the owner of his prospective buyer, solicited the listing, and obtained it. REALTOR® B said he saw nothing unethical in having solicited the listing when it was no longer exclusively listed with another broker and felt that REALTOR® A was without grounds for complaint.


The Conclusion

The panel concluded that it was not the intent of Article 16 to provide any extended or continuing claim to a client by a REALTOR® following the expiration of a listing agreement between the client and the REALTOR®. The panel concluded that REALTOR® A had not been successful in his efforts to sell the client’s property and that neither the property owner nor other REALTORS® should be foreclosed from entering into a new listing agreement to sell the property.
The panel concluded that REALTOR® B was not in violation of Article 16 of the Code of Ethics.