Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 20.5
Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-20.5-14

§ 5-20.5-14. Revocation, suspension of license — Probationary period — Penalties.

(a) The director may, upon his or her own motion, and shall, upon the receipt of the written verified complaint of any person initiating a cause under this section, ascertain the facts and, if warranted, hold a hearing for the suspension or revocation of a license. The director has power to refuse a license for cause or to suspend or revoke a license or place a licensee on probation for a period not to exceed one year where it has been obtained by false representation, or by fraudulent act or conduct, or where a licensee, in performing or attempting to perform any of the acts mentioned in this chapter, is found to have committed any of the following acts or practices:

(1) Making any substantial misrepresentation;

(2) Making any false promise of a character likely to influence, persuade, or induce any person to enter into any contract or agreement when he or she could not or did not intend to keep that promise;

(3) Pursuing a continued and flagrant course of misrepresentation or making of false promises through salespersons, other persons, or any medium of advertising, or otherwise;

(4) Any misleading or untruthful advertising;

(5) Failing to deposit money or other customers’ funds received by a broker or salesperson into an escrow account maintained by the broker that complies with the requirements set forth in § 5-20.5-26, upon execution of a purchase and sales agreement;

(6) Failing to preserve for three (3) years following its consummation records relating to any real estate transaction as described in the regulations issued by the department;

(7) Acting for more than one party in a transaction without the knowledge and consent, in writing, of all parties for whom he or she acts;

(8) Placing a “for sale” or “for rent” sign on any property without the written consent of the owner, or his or her authorized agent;

(9) Failing to furnish a copy of any listing, sale, lease, or other contract relevant to a real estate transaction to all signatories of the contract at the time of execution;

(10) Failing to specify a definite termination date that is not subject to prior notice, in any listing contract;

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

(12) Accepting a commission or any valuable consideration by a salesperson for the performance of any acts specified in this chapter, from any person, except the licensed real estate broker with whom he or she is affiliated;

(13) Failing to disclose to an owner his or her intention or true position if he or she, directly or indirectly through a third party, purchases for himself or herself or acquires or intends to acquire any interest in or any option to purchase property that has been listed with his or her office to sell or lease;

(14) Being convicted of any criminal felony in a court of competent jurisdiction of this or any other state or federal court involving dishonesty, breach of trust, forgery, embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, bribery, larceny, extortion, conspiracy to defraud, fraud, false dealing, or any similar offense(s) or by pleading guilty or nolo contendere to any such criminal offense or offenses;

(15) Violating any rule or regulation promulgated by the department in the interest of the public and consistent with the provisions of this chapter;

(16) In the case of a broker licensee, failing to exercise adequate supervision over the activities of his or her licensed salesperson within the scope of this chapter;

(17) Failing or refusing to provide information requested by the commission or director as the result of a formal or informal complaint to the director that would indicate a violation of this chapter;

(18) Soliciting, selling, or offering for sale real property by offering free lots or conducting lotteries or contests or offering prizes for the purpose of influencing a purchaser or prospective purchaser of real property;

(19) Paying or accepting, giving, or charging any undisclosed commission, rebate, compensation, or profit or expenditures for a principal or in violation of this chapter;

(20) Any conduct in a real estate transaction that demonstrates bad faith, dishonesty, untrustworthiness, or incompetence;

(21) Failing to have all listing agreements in writing, properly identifying the property and containing all of the terms and conditions of the sale, including the commission to be paid, the signatures of all parties concerned, and a definite expiration date in that contract that shall not require an owner to notify a broker of his or her intention to terminate. An exclusive agency listing or exclusive right to sell listing shall be clearly indicated in the listing agreement;

(22) Accepting a listing based on “net price.” In cases where the owner wishes to list in this manner, the agreed-upon commission is added and listings made in the usual manner;

(23) Negotiating, or attempting to negotiate, the sale, exchange, or lease of any real property directly with an owner or lessor knowing that the owner or lessor has an outstanding exclusive listing contract with another licensee covering the same property, except when the real estate broker or salesperson is contacted by the client of another broker regarding a real estate service, and the broker or salesperson has not directly or indirectly initiated those discussions, they may discuss the terms under which they might enter into a future agency agreement; or they may enter into an agency agreement that becomes effective upon termination of any existing exclusive agreement; or they may enter into an agreement for other real estate service not covered by an existing agency relationship;

(24) Accepting an exclusive right to sell or lease or an exclusive agency and subsequently failing to make a diligent effort to sell or lease the listed property;

(25) Advising against the use of the services of an attorney in any real estate transaction;

(26) Representing to any lender or any other party in interest, either verbally or through the preparation of a false sales contract, an amount other than the true and actual sales price;

(27) Submitting to an owner a written offer to purchase or lease unless that offer contains the essential terms and conditions of the offer, including the manner in which the purchase price is to be paid, and if that offer is contingent upon certain conditions, those conditions shall be clearly stated in the offer, or unless the offer is conditioned upon the later execution of a complete agreement for sale;

(28) Paying any sums of money being held in an escrow account to any person, or converting the sums of money for his or her own use, in the event of a failed real estate transaction, without having complied with the department’s rules and regulations relative to the transfer of disputed deposit funds to the office of the general treasurer;

(29) Advertising to sell, buy, exchange, rent, or lease the property of another in a manner indicating that the offer to sell, buy, exchange, rent, or lease that property is being made by a private party not engaged in the real estate business, or inserting advertisements in any publication containing only a post office or other box number, telephone number, or street address. No salesperson shall advertise the property of another under his or her own name;

(30) As a licensed salesperson, failing upon termination of his or her employment or affiliation with a real estate broker and upon demand by the broker to immediately turn over to the broker any and all information, records, or other materials obtained during his or her employment, whether the information or records were originally given to him or her by the broker or copied from the records of that broker or affiliation or acquired by the salesperson during his or her employment;

(31) Offering, promising, giving, or paying, directly or indirectly, any part or share of his or her commission or compensation arising or accruing from any real estate transaction to any person who is not licensed as a real estate broker, but who, by law, should be licensed, or who is not a real estate salesperson employed by that licensee;

(32) Violating chapter 37 of title 34 in his or her capacity as a real estate licensee, including, but not limited to, soliciting the sale, lease, or the listing for sale or lease, of residential property on the ground of loss of value due to the present or prospective entry in the neighborhood of a person or persons of another race, religion, or ethnic origin, nor shall he or she distribute, or cause to be distributed, material or make statements designed to induce a residential property owner to sell or lease his or her property due to these factors;

(33) Failure of the employing broker to notify the director, in writing, within ten (10) days of the termination of a salesperson’s employment or contractual relationship, or failure of a salesperson to notify the director, in writing, within ten (10) days of any change in his or her broker affiliation;

(34) Failure to report all written offers to the owner prior to the signing of a purchase and sale agreement by the owner;

(35) Failure of agents to provide buyers and sellers of real property with disclosure regarding real estate agency relationships as specified in chapter 20.6 of this title;

(36) Failure of an associate broker to inform the public of associate broker status by not listing associate broker on business cards and correspondence or by informing the public that his or her status in the real estate firm is that of broker; or

(37) Failure to pay sums of money being held in an escrow account, pursuant to § 5-20.5-26, within ten (10) days of receipt of a written release that has been signed by all parties to a failed real estate transaction.

(b) The director is authorized to levy an administrative penalty not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000) for any violation under this section or the rules and regulations of the department of business regulation.

History of Section.
P.L. 1973, ch. 215, § 2; P.L. 1981, ch. 249, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 417, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 317, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 141, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 424, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 397, § 2; P.L. 1996, ch. 185, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 114, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 102, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 113, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 47, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 55, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 38, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 41, § 1; P.L. 2019, ch. 308, art. 1, § 11; P.L. 2021, ch. 211, § 1, effective January 1, 2022; P.L. 2021, ch. 322, § 1, effective January 1, 2022.