CHAPTER 151

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 29 OF TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE ENTITLED, "REAL ESTATE BROKERS AND SALESMEN" BY REPEALING SECTIONS 2901, 2902, 2903, 2904, 2905, 2908, 2923, AND 2924 THEREOF AND SUBSTITUTING IN LIEU THEREOF NEW SECTIONS 2901, 2902, 2903, 2904, 2905, 2908, 2923, 2924, 2925, 2926 AND 2927.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Sections 2901, 2902, 2903, 2904, 2905, 2908, 2923 and 2924, Chapter 29, Title 24, Delaware Code, are hereby repealed and the following new sections enacted in lieu thereof:

§ 2901. Definitions and exceptions

(a) As used in this chapter—

"Real estate broker" means any person who, for a compensation or valuable consideration, sells or offers for sale, buys or offers to buy, or negotiates a purchase, sale or exchange of real estate or who leases or offers to lease, or rents or offers for rent, any real estate or the improvements thereon for others, as a whole or partial vocation. The term "real estate broker" shall also include real estate appraisers.

"Real estate salesman" means any person who, for a compensation or valuable consideration, is employed, either directly or indirectly by a real estate broker to sell or offer to sell, or to buy or to offer to buy, or to negotiate the purchase or sale or exchange of real estate, or to lease, or rent, or offer for rent, any real estate, or to negotiate leases thereof or of the improvements thereon, as a whole or partial vocation.

(b) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to—

(1) Any person who, as owner or lessor, performs any of the acts enumerated in this section with reference to property owned or leased by such person or to the regular employee thereof, with respect to the property so owned or leased, where such acts are performed in the regular course of or as an incident to the management of such property and the investment therein; or

(2) Persons acting as attorney in fact under a duly executed power of attorney from the owner authorizing the final consummation by performance of any contract of sale, leasing or exchange of real estate.

(c) This chapter shall not be construed to include in any way the services rendered by an attorney-at-law, nor shall it be held to include while acting as such, the receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, administrator or executor, or any person selling real estate under order of any court; or a trustee acting under a trust agreement, deed of trust or will, or the regular salaried employee thereof.

§ 2902. Real Estate Commission; appointment, qualifications, term of office, vacancies

(a) The Delaware Real Estate Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission") is established and shall consist of five (5) members. The Commission shall consist of the members presently serving unexpired terms on the Delaware Real Estate Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Old Commission") as it existed prior to the enactment of this bill. The Governor shall appoint two (2) new members to the Commission—one for a period of five (5) years and another for a period of four (4) years. Upon the expiration of the terms of each of the members of the Old Commission, the Governor shall appoint new members of the Commission for periods of time of five (5) years or less so that the membership of the Commission shall always have one (1) member whose term expires in each calendar year.

(b) At least one member of the Commission shall be a resident of Sussex County; one, a resident of Kent County; two, residents of New Castle County, one of which shall maintain an office in the City of Wilmington at the time of such appointment, and one may serve at large.

(c) In order to qualify for appointment to the Commission each person must:

(1) Have been a qualified active Real Estate Broker in Delaware for five years immediately prior to such appointment;

(2) Have been a resident of the State of Delaware for five years immediately prior to such appointment.

(d) The members of the Commission, before entering upon their duties, shall respectively take and subscribe to an oath to exercise the duties of their office with fidelity. Such oath shall be filed with the clerk of the peace of the county in which such members reside.

() The Governor shall fill vacancies occurring for any reason other than expiration of term, for unexpired terms of such Commissioners, and may remove any members of such Board for continued neglect of the duties required by this chapter, or for unprofessional or dishonorable conduct.

(a) The members of the Commission shall each receive the actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of duties pertaining to their offices.

§ 2903. Election of officers; quorum; by-laws; special meetings

(a) The Commission, immediately upon the qualification of its members, shall organize by selecting from its members a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary, and may do all other things necessary and convenient for carrying into effect the provisions of this chapter. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping a full record of the proceedings of the Commission.

After the initial organization meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall meet annually in the month of June and shall select from its members a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary.

(b) Three members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, and the Commission may act by a majority vote of a quorum.

(c) The Commission may adopt and promulgate such bylaws as may be necessary to govern its proceedings, to define the duties of its officers and to effectuate the intent and purpose of this chapter.

(d) Special meetings of the Commission may be called by the Secretary upon written request of the Chairman or of any two members.

(e) The Commission shall adopt a seal and may use that seal on all official documents.

§ 2904. Executive Secretary; appointment; qualifications

The Commission may appoint an Executive Secretary who shall receive an annual salary fixed by the Commission, not to exceed $7,500 and said Executive Secretary shall be reimbursed for his necessary travel expenses incurred in the discharge of his duties. Such Executive Secretary shall keep a record of all meetings of the Commission and maintain a register of names of all Brokers and Salesmen licensed under this chapter, which shall at all times be open for inspection. Neither the Executive Secretary nor any employee of the Commission may be an officer, partner or paid employee of a real estate association or group of real estate brokers or salesmen or may during his employment practice the vocation of real estate broker or salesman.

§ 2905. Powers and duties of the Commission

The Commission may:

(a) Adopt and, from time to time, revise such rules and regulations not inconsistent with the law, as may be necessary to enable it to carry into effect the provisions of this chapter.

(b) Examine, license, and renew the licenses of duly qualified applicants, including applicants for conducting schools of real estate.

(c) Conduct hearings upon charges calling for discipline of a licensee or revocation of a license.

(d) Have the power to issue subpoenas, and compel the attendance of witnesses and administer oaths to persons giving testimony at hearings.

(e) Cause the prosecution of all persons violating this chapter and have the power to incur such necessary expenses therefor.

(f) Keep a record of all its proceedings.

(g) Make an annual report to the Governor.

(h) Appoint an Executive Secretary who shall not be a member of the Commission.

(i) Define the duties and fix the compensation of the Executive Secretary.

(j) Employ other persons to assist the Commission.

§ 2908. Fees

(a) For each examination, a fee not to exceed fifteen dollars ($15.00).

(b) For each original resident broker's license issued, a fee not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00).

(c) For each annual renewal of the resident broker's license, a fee not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00).

(d) For each original non-resident broker's license, a fee not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).

() For each annual renewal of a non-resident broker's license, a fee not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).

(a) For each original salesman's license issued, a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00).

(b) For each annual renewal of a saleman's license, a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00).

(c) For each additional office or place of business, an annual fee not to exceed fifteen dollars ($15.00).

() For each change of place of business or change of employer or contractual associate, a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00).

(a) For each duplicate license, where the original license is lost or destroyed and affidavit is made thereof, a fee not to exceed two dollars ($2.00).

(b) For each duplicate pocket card, where the original pocket card is lost or destroyed an affidavit is made thereof, a fee not to exceed two dollars ($2.00).

§ 2923. Revenue and expenses of Commission

(a) All Fees and other money received by the Commission shall be paid over to the State Treasurer, in accordance with Chapter 61 of Title 29.

(b) Expenses of the Commission, within the limits of appropriations made to it, shall be paid by the State Treasurer upon warrants signed by the proper officers of the Commission.

§ 2924. Bonding of brokers

No license shall be issued or renewed until the applicant for a broker's license has filed a bond with the Commission in the sum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), running to the State of Delaware and executed by a surety company duly authorized to do business in the State of Delaware. The bond shall be in a form approved by the Commission and conditioned that the applicant shall conduct his business and himself in accordance with the provisions of this Act. All bonds, after approval, shall be filed and held in the office of the Commission.

§ 2925. Deposits and trust fund accounts; accounting; records inspection and audit

(a) All deposits accepted by every person, partnership, corporation, or association holding a real estate broker's license under the provisions of this Act, which deposits are retained by such real estate broker pending consummation or termination of the transaction involved, shall be accounted for in the full amount thereof at the time of the consummation or termination.

Every real estate salesman, promptly on receipt by him of a deposit on any transaction in which he is engaged on behalf of his broker-employer shall pay over the deposit to the real estate broker.

(b) Every real estate broker shall deposit in an escrow account or accounts in a banking institution all earnest money deposits, rental money, and other monies held by him as a real estate broker in which his clients or other persons with whom he is dealing have an interest unless specifically otherwise agreed upon, in writing, between a builder and a client. The broker shall maintain at his usual place of business books, records, contracts, and other necessary documents to determine the adequacy of the escrow account or accounts. These accounts and records shall be opened to inspection by the Commission and its duly authorized agents at the broker's usual place of business during regular business hours.

§ 2926. Violations and penalties; enforcement

(a) Whoever, being a natural person, violates any provision of this chapter; or

Whoever, being an agent or officer of a corporation or member or agent of a co-partnership or association, personally participates or is an accessory to any violation of this chapter—

Shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $1000, or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

(b) Any corporation that violates any provision of this chapter shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $1,000.

(c) The Commission shall report all violations of this chapter to the Attorney General of this State.

(d) All fines or penalties shall inure to this State.

§ 2927. Legal action by Commission to enforce chapter

The Commission may report a defendant for violation of this chapter before any court of competent jurisdiction and it may take the necessary legal steps for the proper legal officers of this State to enforce the provisions of this chapter and collect the penalties provided in this chapter.

Section 2. The effective date of this Act shall be June 1, 1969.

Approved June 23, 1969.