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Agent Liability – Signing for Clients

Type Matter:  Real Estate Agent Signing for Clients
Issue:  Should a real estate Agent sign Buyers’ Request for Repair document when Buyers fail to do so?
Answer:  No

Facts:  Elderly Buyers purchase rental income property identified as a modular home. Following completion of both pest inspection and home inspection, Buyer’s Agent recommended Buyers complete a Request for Repairs for Seller to repair the various items identified in the two inspection reports. Buyer’s Agent claims that when she met with the Buyers to discuss the repairs, Buyers were in a hurry to attend a social engagement and were unable to wait and sign the form. Agent claims the Buyers instructed her to sign on their behalf. Buyers claim they never had a meeting with the Agent to discuss needed repairs, never signed the Request for Repairs and never authorized Agent to sign on their behalf. It is undisputed that Agent signed the Request for Repair form for the Buyers. After close of escrow, Buyers discovered several items that were not repaired and not disclosed to them. Buyers filed action against both real estate Agents and Seller.

Results:  At trial, Agent received defense verdict. Buyer’s Agent had properly conducted a visual inspection and informed her clients of her findings in the Transfer Disclosure Statement. Follow up letter and emails also advised Buyers of various observable defects in the property. Although jury was critical of Agent for executing form in place of Buyers, Agents disclosures to Buyers supported Agents position that proper disclosures were made.

Lesson:  Agents should not execute documents on behalf of their clients. The Agent in this case was fortunate that other supporting documentation existed to establish disclosures were made. If clients cannot sign a document, inform them in writing of the need to do so and the possible consequences should they fail.

 


The following does not create an attorney-client relationship between the viewer and CRELA, Shannon B. Jones Law Group or Spile, Leff & Goor and the viewer may not use anything contained in or omitted from as the basis for any claim of any nature against CRELA, Shannon B. Jones Law Group or Spile, Leff & Goor.

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