‘Dual Agency’ Transactions Under Scrutiny in California Court Case


dual-agencyA case scheduled to come before the California Supreme Court Sept. 7 is set to re-examine the fiduciary responsibilities borne by real estate brokers who engage in “dual agency” representation — the situation in which buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants are represented by brokers within the same real estate agency or brokerage, a commonplace practice in both residential and commercial property transactions.

The California Supreme Court in 2014 agreed to review the case, Horiike v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Co., in which homebuyer Hiroshi Horiike worked with a Coldwell Banker agent to purchase a Malibu residential property listed by a Coldwell Banker agent in another office.

After the sale closed, Horiike discovered that the size of the house was 11,000 square feet rather than the 15,000 square feet claimed in marketing materials. Horiike sued the listing agent and Coldwell Banker, claiming that both had breached their fiduciary responsibility by failing to advise him to hire a third party to verify the actual square footage.



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