Does Commercial real estate require an agency disclosure?

Our Realtor colleagues on the Board of Registration have been offering great insight into the real estate laws in Massachusetts. Kim Allard recently shared a common Agency disclosure misunderstanding …  When showing a commercial space, are REALTORS® and other licensees required to provide the buyer with a signed copy of the agency form?

Based upon a recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), which is the highest court in Massachusetts, yes, an Agency Disclosure Form should be provided to a prospective purchaser or seller at the time of the first in person meeting to discuss a specific property.

In Michael Thomann v. Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salesmen, the Board alleged that Thomann had bought and sold real estate on behalf of clients through an unlicensed limited liability company (LLC) and that he violated the CMR by failing to provide a proper notice of agency disclosure to the seller in a commercial transaction. Thomann’s 10-day license suspension was upheld by the SJC for both the unlicensed LLC and the failure to provide the agency disclosure.  There is an ongoing debate about the interpretation of this ruling, as the disclosure form was always considered limited to residential, condo, and multifamily units of 4 or less. There is a Board of Registration task force that will be reviewing this and other recent questions and should have more information.  In the meantime, if you’re more comfortable operating in the “the better safe than sorry” zone, I would provide the disclosure to all clients and customers to make sure they understand where your allegiance, if any, lies.