Duty of confidentiality
We respect the confidentiality of our client's affairs. Information that we obtain about our clients' affairs will be kept confidential and must not be used for the benefit of persons or entities not authorized by the client. This means that all client information, whether held on paper, computer, cloud or held in the memory of the professional, must not be disclosed to anyone.
Trust is an essential part of the relationship with our clients and confidentiality is central to this. We are under both ethical and legal duties to protect clients’ personal information from any type of disclosure.
A real estate broker who becomes an agent of a buyer or seller, either via the execution of a written agreement or by a course of conduct, will be deemed to be a fiduciary. The Fiduciary means faithful servant, and an agent is a fiduciary of the client. Since the act of serving as a real estate agent for a client involves plenty of responsibility and trust, agents are required to adhere to specific fiduciary duties under real estate ethics rules and laws. Fiduciary duties are the highest duties known to the law. These duties are meant to protect clients and give them the confidence that their best interest is being taken to account when the agent is carrying out tasks on behalf of them.
One of the obligations of a real estate agent is maintaining the confidentiality of their client’s information. Privacy legislation requires the agent to protect a client’s personal data and information. The real estate agent should not disclose any information regarding the property, client or transaction to another party unless they have the respective permission from their client or the law requires disclosure.
The agent owes undivided loyalty (except in the instance of a dual agency relationship), to the client and puts the client's interests above his own. True loyalty is built through understanding the client’s desired outcome (what they seek, plus what they expect from the experience) and giving them exactly that. If an agent has interests that compete with their client’s then the agent should advise the client to seek another agent to represent them. The ultimate goal is to help the clients reach their final destination successfully and with as little effort as possible.
Disclose duty means the agent must disclose to their client all relevant information that they are aware of. Sometimes this duty can be extended to require disclosure of all the information the agent should have known of as well. In a nutshell, the agent must disclose to the client any facts he receives that may benefit the client's position in the negotiation process.
The agent should be representing clients who only best match their experience level and should seek help if the client’s needs (by whatever needs) extend beyond what the agent normally is able to do. The agent should disclose to their client that their needs extend beyond the scope of his experience and he will seek outside help in order to meet the client’s needs.
Additionally, agents should not be giving any legal advice to clients unless they are also an attorney. Also, agents should not be representing clients in a residential transaction if their only expertise is in retail commercial transactions. If a real estate agent is serving as a property manager then he must keep track of all rents incoming and outgoing as well as any expenditures made on behalf of the client and provide that data to the client on a regular basis. When selling real estate for clients the agent must keep safe all legal documents related to the sale that are in their possession.