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Senator COPELAND. I have no objection to that, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN.
Is there objection on the part of any member of the committee? Without objection, permission is granted.
(The bill (H. R. 11722) to create a real estate commission for the District of Columbia; to define, regulate, and license real-estate brokers and real-estate salesmen; and to provide a penalty for a violation of the provisions hereof, introduced in the House by Mr. Blanton on January 17, 1925, is as follows:)
Be it enacted, etc., That there is hereby created the Real Estate Commission of the District of Columbia. The President of the United States, hereinafter referred to as “the President,” shall, in the manner hereinafter provided, appoint seven persons, each of whom have been residents of the District of Columbia for at least ten years last past, and whose vocation for a period of at least ten years prior to the date of their appointment shall have been that of a real estate broker or a real estate salesman, as such terms are hereinafter defined, who shall constitute such commission; from a list of as many as six names having the requisite qualifications submitted to him by the Federation of Citizens' Associations of the District of Columbia the President shall select one member who shall be chairman of the commission and shall select another member who shall be secretarytreasurer of the commission, both of whom shall hold office at the will of the President, and whose successors if vacancies occur shall be appointed in like manner, and the member so designated by the President as the secretary-treasurer shall give his entire time to the business of the commission and shall receive compensation at the rate of $3,500 per annum; from a list of as many as six names having the requisite qualifications submitted to him by the Washington Board of Trade the President shall appoint two members, and from a list of as many as nine names having the requisite qualifications submitted to him by the Washington Real Estate Board the President shali appoint the other three members of said commission; and when appointing the five members last mentioned, alternating from one group to the other, the President shall designate them to hold office, respectively, for the terms of one, two, three, four, and five years, and until their successors are appointed and qualify, all being subject to removal for cause by the President, and thereafter the term of members succeeding said five members shall be for five years and until their successors selected in like manner are appointed by the President and qualify, subject to removal for cause by the President. Members to fill vacancies shall be selected in like manner and appointed by the President to fill the unexpired term. Immediately after appointment by the President, upon call of the chairman, the commission shall organize and qualify, and immediately upon the qualification of the member appointed each year, or appointed to fill a vacancy, the commission shall organize; and such commission may do all things within its reasonable scope necessary and convenient for carrying into effect the provisions of this act, and may from time to time within such reasonable scope promulgate necessary rules and regulations.
Each member of the commission, other than said secretary-treasurer, shall receive as full compensation for each day actually spent on the work of said commission such sum as may be allowed by said commission not exceeding $12 per day, and may be allowed such actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of duties pertaining to his office as the commission may order.
Within the limitation hereinafter provided, the commission may employ and at its pleasure may discharge such clerks and assistants as shall be deemed reasonably necessary to discharge the duties imposed by the provisions of this act, and shall outline their duties and fix their compensation, which in no case is to exceed the maximums established by the Classification Board; and the commission shall obtain such office space, furniture, stationery, fuel, light, and other reasonably necessary conveniences, as shall be reasonably required for carrying out the provisions of this act.
The commission shall adopt a seal with such design as the commission may prescribe engraved thereon, by which it shall authenticate its proceedings. Copies of all records and papers in the office of the commission, duly certified and authenticated by the seal of said commission, shall be received in evidence in all courts of the District of Columbia and courts of the United States equally and with like effect as the original. All records kept in the office of the commission under authority of this act shall be open to public inspection under such reasonable rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by the commission.
All fees and charges collected by the commission under the provisions of this act shall be itemized and entered upon a permanent record of such office, and the total of each day's receipts shall on the succeeding day by the secretarytreasurer of the commission be deposited with the Collector of Taxes for the District of Columbia, who shall cover same into the Treasury of the United States, there to be credited to the general fund of the District of Columbia. All expenses incurred by the commission under the provisions of this act, including compensation to members and employees, shall be paid out of the general fund of the District of Columbia in the Treasury of the United States, upon warrants of the Auditor of the District of Columbia, countersigned and approved by the disbursing officer of the District of Columbia, from time to time when itemized vouchers covering expenditures authorized by this act are exhibited and approved by the commission: Provided, That the total expense for every purpose incurred shall not exceed at any time the total fees and charges collected by the commission covered into the Treasury of the United States, and no warrant shall issue that would overdraw the balance to the credit of collections paid in by said commission.
Sec. 2. A license shall be granted only to persons who bear a good reputation for honesty, truthfulness, and fair dealing and are competent to transact the business of a real estate broker or a real estate salesman in such a manner as to safeguard the interests of the public.
Sec. 3. A real estate broker within the meaning of this act is any person, firm, partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation, who for a compensation or valuable consideration sells or offers for sale, buys or offers to buy, or negotiates the purchase or sale or exchange of (a) real estate, or (b) notes or other forms of indebtedness secured by liens upon real estate, or who leases or offers to lease, or rents or offers to rent, any real estate or the improvements thereon for others, as a whole or partial vocation; or any person, firm, partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation engaged in the public business of selling, buying, exchanging, leasing, or renting large holdings of his, their, or its own property, either real estate or buildings or parts of buildings situated thereon.
A real estate salesman within the meaning of this act is 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 offer to buy, or to negotiate the purchase or sale or exchange of real estate, or to lease, to rent or offer for rent any real estate, or to negotiate leases thereof, or of the improvements or parts of improvement thereon, as a whole or partial vocation.
One act for a compensation or valuable consideration of buying or selling rea! estate of or for another, or offering for another to buy or sell, or exchange real estate, or leasing, or renting, or offering to rent real estate, except as herein specifically excepted, shall constitute the person, firm, partnership, copartnership, association or corporation, performing, offering, or attempting to perform any of the acts enumerated herein, a real estate broker or a real estate salesman within the meaning of this act.
The provisions of this act shall not apply to any person, firm, partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation, who as owner or lessor shall perform any of the acts aforesaid with reference to property owned or leased by them, or to the regular employees thereof, with respect to the property so owned or leased, where such person, firm, partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation is not regularly engaged in the public business of selling, exchanging, leasing, or renting, large holdings of his, their, or its own real estate or rental improvements thereon, and where such acts are performed in the regular course of, or as an incident to, the management of such property and the investment therein, nor shall the provisions of this act apply to 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 for the sale, leasing, or exchange of real estate, nor shall this act be construed to include in any way the services rendered by an attorney at law in the performance of his duties as such attorney at law; nor shall it be held to include, while acting as such, a receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, administrator or executor, or any person selling real estate under order of any court, nor to include a trustee acting under a trust agreement, deed of trust, or will, or the regular salaried employees thereof.
Sec. 4. That on and after the 1st day of March, A. D. 1925, it shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation to act in the District of Columbia as a real estate broker or real estate salesman, or to advertise or assume to act as such real estate broker or real estate salesman, without a license issued by the Real Estate Commission of the District of Columbia.
No partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation shall be granted a license, unless every member and officer of such partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation, who actively participates in the brokerage business of such partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation, shall hold & license as a real estate broker, and unless every employee who acts as a salesman for such partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation shall hold a license as a real estate salesman, and such licenses issued by the commission under the authority of this act.
Sec. 5. Every applicant for a real estate broker's license shall apply therefor in writing upon blanks prepared or furnished by the Real Estate Commission.
Such application shall be accompanied by the recommendation of at least five citizens, real estate owners, not related to the applicant, who have owned real estate for a period of three years or more, in the District of Columbia, which recommendation shall certify that the applicant bears a good reputation for honesty, truthfulness, fair dealing, and competency, and recommending that a license be granted to the applicant.
Every applicant for a broker's license shall state the name of the person, firm, partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation, if any, with which he will be associated in the business of real estate, and the location of the place, or places, for which said license is desired, and set forth the period of time, if any, which said applicant has been engaged in the real estate business, and whether he has ever been charged with a criminal offense involving moral turpitude, and if so, what offense.
Every applicant for a license shall furnish a sworn statement setting forth his present address, both of business and residence, a complete list of all former places where he may have resided or been engaged in business for a period of sixty days or more during the last five years, accounting for such entire period, and the length of such residence, together with the name and address of at least one real estate owner in each of said counties where he may have resided or have been engaged in business.
Every applicant for a saleman's license shall, in addition to the requirements of this section, also set forth the period of time, if any, during which he has been engaged in the real estate business, stating the name and address of his last employer, and the name and the place of business of the person, firm, partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation then employing him, or into whose service he is about to enter. The application shall be accompanied by a written statement by the broker in whose service he is about to enter, stating that in his opinion the applicant is honest, truthful, and of good reputation, and recommending that the license be granted to the applicant.
Every application for a license, under the provisions of this act, shall be accompanied by the license fee herein prescribed. In the event that the commission does not issue the license, the fee shall be returned to the applicant.
Every application for a license shall be accompanied by a bond in the sum of $1,000, running to the District of Columbia, executed by two good and sufficient sureties to be approved by the commission or executed by a surety company duly authorized to do business in the District of Columbia, said bond to be in form approved by the commission, and conditioned that the applicant shall conduct his business in accordance with the requirements of this act.
The commission, with due regard to the paramount interests of the public, may require such other proof as shall be deemed desirable as to the honesty, truthfulness, integrity, reputation, and competency of the applicant.
The commission is expressly vested with the power and authority to make and enforce any and all reasonable rules and regulations connected with the application for any license as shall be deemed necessary to administer and enforce the provisions of this act.
Sec. 6. The commission, after an application in proper form has been filed, shall, before refusing to issue a license, set the application down for a hearing and determination as hereinafter provided in section 9.
Sec. 7. The commission shall issue to each licensee a license in such form and size as shall be prescribed by the commission. This license shall show the name and address of the licensee and in case of a real estate saleman's license, shall show the name of the real estate broker by whom he is employed. Each license shall have imprinted thereon the seal of the commission, and in addition to the foregoing shall contain such matter as shall be prescribed by the commission. The license of each real estate salesman shall be delivered or mailed to the real estate broker by whom such real estate salesman is employed and shall be kept in the custody and control of such broker. It shall be the duty of each real estate broker to conspicuously display his license in his place of business.
The commission shall prepare and deliver to each licensee a pocket card, which card among other things shall contain an imprint of the seal of the commission and shall certify that the person whose name appears thereon is a licensed real estate broker or real estate salesman, as the case may be, and if it is a real estate salesman's card it shall also contain the name and address of his employer, the matter to be printed on such pocket card, except as above set forth, shall be prescribed by the commission.
The original fee for each real estate broker's license shall be $30, and the annual renewal fee shall be $15.
The original fee for each real estate salesman's license shall be $15, and the annual renewal fee shall be $8.
Members, officers or managers of a partnership, copartnership, association or corporation, who hold a real estate broker's license issued by such commission, may perform all of the acts contemplated by this act without any additional application on his part and without payment of the fee required by a real estate salesman.
Each real estate broker's license which may be granted to an individual shall entitle such individual to perform all of the acts contemplated by this act without any application upon his part and without payment of any fee other than the real estate broker's annual fee.
Every license shall expire on the 31st day of December of each year. The commission shall issue a new license for each ensuing year, in the absence of any reason or condition which might warrant the refusal of the granting of a license, upon receipt of the written request of the applicant and the annual fee therefor, as herein required. The revocation of a broker's license shall automatically suspend every real estate salesman's license granted to any person by virtue of his employment by the broker whose license has been revoked, pending a change of employer and the issuance of a new license. Such new license shall be issued without charge, if granted during the same year in which the original license was granted.
Every real estate broker shall maintain a place of business in the District of Columbia. If the real estate broker maintains more than one place of business within the District of Columbia, a duplicate license shall be issued to such broker for each branch office maintained, for which duplicate one-half of the regular fee for the original shall be paid: Provided, That if such broker be a partnership, copartnership, association, or corporation having more than one place of business in the District of Columbia, duplicate licenses shall be issued to the members and officers thereof holding original licenses who shall each pay the sum of $3 for each such duplicate license issued.
Notice in writing shall be given to the commission by each licensee of any change of principal business location, whereupon the commission shall issue a new license for the unexpired period without charge. The change of business location without notification to the commission shall automatically cancel the license thereof issued, and such warning shall be so printed on each license.
When any real estate salesman shall be discharged or shall terminate his employment with the real estate broker by whom he is employed, it shall be the duty of such real estate broker to immediately deliver or mail by registered mail to the commission such real estate salesman's license. The real estate broker shall at the time of mailing such real estate salesman's license to the commission address a communication to the last-known residence address of such real estate salesman, which communication shall advise such real estate salesman that his license has been delivered or mailed to the commission. A copy of such communication to the real estate salesman shall accompany the license, when mailed or delivered to the commission. It shall be unlawful for any real estate salesman to perform any of the acts contemplated by this act either directly or indirectly under authority of said license from and after the date of receipt of the said license from said broker by the commission: Provided, That another license shall not be issued to such real estate salesman until he shall return his former pocker card to the commission or shall satisfactorily account to it for the same: Prorided further, That not more than one license shall be issued to any real estate salesman for same period of time. And it shall be unlawful for any real estate broker to fail to do and perform the things required of him in this section respecting the return of the real estate salesman's license to the commission.
Sec. 8. The commission may upon its own motion and shall upon the verified complaint in writing of any person, provided such complaint, or such complaint together with evidence, documentary or otherwise, presented in connection therewith, shall make out a prima facie case, investigate the actions of any real estate broker or real estate salesman, or any person who shall assume to
act in either such capacity within the District of Columbia, and shall have the power to suspend or to revoke any license issued under the provisions of this act, at any time where the licensee has by false or fraudulent representation obtained a license, 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, or
(b) Making any false promises of a character likely to influence, persuade, or induce, or
(c) Pursuing a continued and flagrant course of misrepresentation, or making of false promises through agents or salesmen or advertising or otherwise, or
(d) Acting for more than one party in a transaction without the knowledge of all parties for whom he acts, or
(e) Accepting a commission or valuable consideration as a real estate salesman for the performance of any of the acts specified in this act, from any person, except his employer, who must be a licensed real estate broker, or
(f) Representing or attempting to represent a real estate broker other than the employer, without the express knowledge and consent of the employer, or
(g) Failing, within a reasonable time, to account for or to remit any moneys coming into his possession which belong to others, or
(h) Being unworthy or incompetent to act as a real estate broker or salesman in such manner as to safeguard the interests of the public, or
(i) Paying a commission or valuable consideration to any person for acts or services performed in violation of this act, or
() Any other conduct, whether of the same or a different character from that hereinbefore specified, which constitutes improper, fraudulent, or dishonest dealing.
Any unlawful act or violation of any of the provisions of this act by any real estate salesman, employee, or partner or associate of a licensed real estate broker, shall not be cause for the revocation of a license of any real estate broker, partial or otherwise, unless it shall appear to the satisfaction of the commission that said employer, partner, or associate had guilty knowledge thereof.
Sec. 9. The commission shall, before denying an application for license, or before suspending or revoking any license, set the matter down for a hearing, and at least ten days prior to the date set for the hearing it shall notify in writing the applicant, or licensee, of any charges made, and shall afford such applicant or licensee an opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel in reference thereto. Such written notice may be served by delivery of same personally to the applicant, or licensee, or by mailing same by registered mail to the last known business address of such applicant or licensee. If said applicant or licensee be a salesman, the commission shall also notify the broker employing him, or in whose employ he is about to enter, by mailing notice by registered mail to the broker's last known business address. The hearing on such charges shall be at such time and place as the commission shall prescribe. The commission shall have the power to subpæna and bring before it any person in the District of Columbia, or take testimony of any such person by deposition with the same fees and mileage in the same manner as prescribed by law in judicial procedure in courts of the District of Columbia in civil cases. Any party to any hearing before the commission shall have the right to the attendance of witnesses in his behalf at such hearing, upon making request therefor to the commission and designating the person or persons sought to be subpænaed. If the commission shall determine that any applicant is not qualified to receive a license, a license shall not be granted to said applicant, and if the commission shall determine that any licensee is guilty of a violation of any of the provisions of this act, his or its license shall be suspended or revoked. The findings of fact made by the commission, acting within its powers, shall, in the absence of fraud, be conclusive, but the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia shall have the power to review questions of law involved in any final decision or determination of the commission: Provided, That application is made by the aggrieved party w thin thirty days after such determination by certiorari, mandamus, or by any other method permissible under the rules and practices of said court or the laws in force in the District of Columbia, and said court may make such further orders in respect thereto as justice may require.
Sec. 10.'A nonresident of the District of Columbia may become a real estate broker or a real estate salesman by conforming to all of the conditions of this paragraph and this act.