Wisconsin has traditionally advocated fair treatment to all parties to a transaction and these duties of fair treatment to clients and non-clients have been and still remain among the strongest in the nation.
In 1993, Wisconsin passed an Act that was intended to remove some of the confusion among Real Estate Professionals, consumers, and Wisconsin attorneys in regards to the Real Estate Broker’s agency duties to clients and non-clients. This Act set forth the following:
No Broker may provide brokerage service without an agency agreement that authorizes the Broker to provide those brokerage services. The agency agreement shall contain a statement of the terms and conditions of the brokerage services that the Broker shall provide.
No Broker may provide brokerage services to a party to a transaction unless the Broker has provided to the party a written agency disclosure form containing the following:
- A statement of which party is the Broker’s client or, if the Broker is providing brokerage service to more than one client, who is the Broker’s client.
- A statement of the Broker’s duties to his or her client.
- A statement of the Broker’s duties to his or her non-client.
- A statement regarding confidentiality that shall be in the following form:
NOTICE TO CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS. A Broker is required to maintain the confidentiality of all information given to the Broker in confidence and all information obtained by the Broker that he or she knows a reasonable party would want to be kept confidential unless the information is required to be disclosed by law. The following information is required to be disclosed by law:
- Material adverse facts.
- Any facts known by the broker that contradict any information included in a written inspection report on the property or real estate that is subject to the transaction.
To insure that the Broker is aware of what specific information may be considered confidential, this information may be listed in the space below that is marked “Confidential Information.”
No Broker may provide brokerage service to more than one client in a transaction without an agency agreement with each client and a written agreement to Multiple Representation.
In providing brokerage service to a party to a transaction, a Broker shall do all of the following:
- Provide brokerage service to all parties to the transaction honestly, fairly, and in good faith.
- Diligently exercise reasonable skill and care.
- Disclose to each party all material facts that the Broker knows and that the party does not know or cannot discover through reasonable vigilant observation unless the disclosure is prohibited by law.
- Keep confidential any information given to the Broker in confidence. Further, a Broker shall keep any such information confidential after the transaction is completed and after the Broker is no longer providing brokerage service the party.
- Provide accurate information about market conditions that affect the transaction to any party who requests the information.
- Account for all property that comes into the possession of the Broker that belongs to any party.
- When negotiating on behalf of a party, present contract proposals in an objective and unbiased manner and disclose the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal.
In addition to his or her duties to all parties, a Broker providing brokerage services to his or her client shall do all of the following:
- Loyally represent the client’s interests by placing the client’s interests ahead of any other party, unless loyalty to a client violates the Broker’s duties to all parties as described above.
- Disclose to the client all information known by the Broker that is material to the transaction and that is not known by the client or discoverable by the client through reasonably vigilant observation except for confidential information and other information the disclosure of which is prohibited by law.
- Fulfill any obligation required by the agency agreement, and any order of the client that is within the scope of the agency agreement, that are not inconsistent with another duty that the Broker has.