Surprise! It's Not a Violation!
Joanie represented a buyer, Barbara, who needed a larger home. She had Barbara sign a Transaction Broker Notice, but did not ask her to sign an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement (aka Exclusive Buyer’s Representation Agreement).
Joanie worked with Barbara for two months. One Saturday, she showed a house that Barbara absolutely loved. They subsequently spent several hours touring the house, discussing the neighborhood and exploring financing options.
On Sunday, unbeknownst to Joanie, Barbara drove past the home by herself and saw an Open House sign in the yard. She went inside and met the listing broker. After they had talked for a while, Barbara decided to present an offer, which the listing broker eagerly offered to prepare.
The seller accepted Barbara’s offer, and the listing broker assisted both parties until the contract closed a few weeks later. Joanie was very upset when she learned what had happened, because she believed that the listing broker had violated Article 16 by interfering with her relationship with Barbara.
Why it’s not a violation: Article 16 states that “Realtors® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other Realtors have with clients.” This means that there must be an exclusive contract in place with the client—either an exclusive listing agreement or an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement.
Joanie never talked to Barbara about signing an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement; therefore, although she and Barbara worked together for two months, Barbara had no contractual obligation to work only with Joanie.
If Barbara had signed an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement with Joanie and then proceeded to work with the listing broker, Joanie might have successfully argued that the listing broker violated Article 16 by failing to verify whether Barbara was under contract with another Realtor, and by offering to prepare Joanie’s offer and representing her until the closing.
Notably, while there was no Article 16 violation, Joanie may still have a procuring cause argument, since she was involved with introducing Barbara to the house.