Licensed real estate “salespersons” in San Francisco are now introduced to an update in the San Francisco Association of Realtors policies: If they are not already members of SFAR, their brokers receive a letter stating that: (a) the brokerage now shows an affiliated agent, who is not a member of any association of Realtors; (b) the broker of record is a member and is a “Designated Realtor” of the association; (c) the broker’s membership dues are calculated based on “the number of individuals licensed with the brokerage”; (d) for every such individual who is not a Realtor, broker’s fees will increase. Therefore, either that individual must join SFAR, or broker must pay a $594 “special nonmember dues assessment” and expect a similar raise in MLS fees, or the individual should be removed from the broker’s employment.

At least constructively, it is now mandatory for a salesperson to pay the SFAR and the MLS fees because an agent may not operate without putting her license under some designated broker. Brokers are given a “choice”: either to pay a nonmember fee, or compel the agent to become a member, or boot her out. True, the demand is addressed to the broker, not the agent in question, but few would expect a broker to sponsor additional fees without passing the burden of the expense — or the burden of choosing either of the other two alternatives — to the underlying agent.

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