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.