We had a call this week sharing the story of a deal that fell apart. Rather than returning the funds, the listing broker said, “Oh, we didn’t deposit it yet, so I will just void the check.” The buyer’s rep was fine but surprised, wondering if there was a stated time frame to deposit a check, since this was well over a week after a P&S was accepted. The answer: the law says IMMEDIATELY. The language pertaining to funds being deposited into escrow can be found in Massachusetts Law 254 CMR 3.10:
(10) Client Funds. (a) Escrow Accounts. Unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the parties in transactions involving the sale, purchase, renting or exchange of real property, all money of whatever kind and nature paid over to a real estate broker to be held during the pendency of a transaction shall be immediately deposited in a bank escrow account and such broker shall be responsible for such money until the transaction is either consummated or terminated, at which time a proper account and distribution of such money shall be made. An escrow account is an account where the broker deposits and maintains the money of other parties in a real estate transaction and such broker has no claim to such money. An escrow account maybe interest or non-interest bearing but where it is interest bearing the broker must make a proper account of such interest at either the consummation or termination of the transaction.