Effective January 1, real estate offices can no longer provide dual agency in Alaska. Dual agency occurs when the agent listing a property and the agent procuring the buyer are both working within the same agency.

This is not an issue where the agent procuring the buyer has a formal contract to represent that buyer. It is an issue where an agent is acting under the old standard of sub-agency, showing and presenting offers on a property under an implied contract with the listing agent (see our October/November series on agency.) Dual agency also exists when the listing agent also procures the buyer. In the latter case, according to REALTOR Magazine Online', the new Alaska law requires that the managing broker of an office designate that agent as a 'neutral licensee' who can facilitate the transaction but not represent either buyer or seller.

The new law is another blow to the practice of sub-agency, which has already been abolished in some states, but to which many long-time real estate agents cling with unfathomable passion.