2006 Regular Session

To: Business and Financial Institutions

By: Senator(s) Burton

Senate Bill 2782



     SECTION 1.  Section 73-35-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     73-35-21.  (1)  The commission may, upon its own motion and shall upon the verified complaint in writing of any person, hold a hearing for the refusal of license or for the suspension or revocation of a license previously issued, or for such other action as the commission deems appropriate.  The commission shall have full power to refuse a license for cause or to revoke or suspend a license where it has been obtained by false or fraudulent representation, or where the licensee in performing or attempting to perform any of the acts mentioned herein, is deemed to be guilty of:

          (a)  Making any substantial misrepresentation in connection with a real estate transaction;

          (b)  Making any false promises of a character likely to influence, persuade or induce;

          (c)  Pursuing a continued and flagrant course of misrepresentation or making false promises through agents or salespersons or any medium of advertising or otherwise;

          (d)  Any misleading or untruthful advertising;

          (e)  Acting for more than one (1) party in a transaction or receiving compensation from more than one (1) party in a transaction, or both, without the knowledge of all parties for whom he acts;

          (f)  Failing, within a reasonable time, to account for or to remit any monies coming into his possession which belong to others, or commingling of monies belonging to others with his own funds.  Every responsible broker procuring the execution of an earnest money contract or option or other contract who shall take or receive any cash or checks shall deposit, within a reasonable period of time, the sum or sums so received in a trust or escrow account in a bank or trust company pending the consummation or termination of the transaction.  "Reasonable time" in this context means by the close of business of the next banking day;

          (g)  Entering a guilty plea or conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction of this state, or any other state or the United States of any felony;

          (h)  Displaying a "for sale" or "for rent" sign on any property without the owner's consent;

          (i)  Failing to furnish voluntarily, at the time of signing, copies of all listings, contracts and agreements to all parties executing the same;

          (j)  Paying any rebate, profit or commission to any person other than a real estate broker or salesperson licensed under the provisions of this chapter;

          (k)  Inducing any party to a contract, sale or lease to break such contract for the purpose of substituting in lieu thereof a new contract, where such substitution is motivated by the personal gain of the licensee;

          (l)  Accepting a commission or valuable consideration as a real estate salesperson for the performance of any of the acts specified in this chapter from any person, except his employer who must be a licensed real estate broker; * * *

          (m)  Failing to accept and alert the client to all offers and counteroffers to buy, sell, or lease the client's property or the property the client wants to purchase

or lease;

          (n)  Failing to help the client develop, communicate, negotiate, and present offers, counteroffers, and notices that relate to the offers and counteroffers until a lease or purchase agreement is signed and all contingencies are satisfied or waived;

          (o)  Failing to answer all questions relating to the offers, counteroffers, notices and contingencies of the client; or     (p)  Any act or conduct, whether of the same or a different character than hereinabove specified, which constitutes or demonstrates bad faith, incompetency or untrustworthiness, or dishonest, fraudulent or improper dealing.

     (2)  No real estate broker shall practice law or give legal advice directly or indirectly unless said broker be a duly licensed attorney under the laws of this state.  He shall not act as a public conveyancer nor give advice or opinions as to the legal effect of instruments nor give opinions concerning the validity of title to real estate; nor shall he prevent or discourage any party to a real estate transaction from employing the services of an attorney; nor shall a broker undertake to prepare documents fixing and defining the legal rights of parties to a transaction.  However, when acting as a broker, he may use an earnest money contract form.  A real estate broker shall not participate in attorney's fees, unless the broker is a duly licensed attorney under the laws of this state and performs legal services in addition to brokerage services.

     (3)  It is expressly provided that it is not the intent and purpose of the Mississippi Legislature to prevent a license from being issued to any person who is found to be of good reputation, is able to give bond, and who has lived in the State of Mississippi for the required period or is otherwise qualified under this chapter.

     (4)  In addition to the reasons specified in subsection (1) of this section, the commission shall be authorized to suspend the license of any licensee for being out of compliance with an order for support, as defined in Section 93-11-153.  The procedure for suspension of a license for being out of compliance with an order for support, and the procedure for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, and the payment of any fees for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, shall be governed by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be.  If there is any conflict between any provision of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 and any provision of this chapter, the provisions of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, shall control.

     (5)  Nothing in this chapter shall prevent an associate broker or salesperson from owning any lawfully constituted business organization, including, but not limited to, a corporation, limited liability company or limited liability partnership, for the purpose of receiving payments contemplated in this chapter.  The business organization shall not be required to be licensed under this chapter and shall not engage in any other activity requiring a real estate license.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.