Agent Cannot Disclose Information Learned During Representation

Question: Our brokerage firm had a six-month listing on a five-acre mini-ranch near Wickenburg.  Although we were in escrow three times in this six months, all three buyers canceled because of a potability problem with the water from the well.  The listing has expired, but a friend that I have known since high school contacted me to discuss making an offer.  I don’t want to represent my friend in making an offer, but can I at least tell my friend about the potability problem with the water?

Answer: Probably not.  After the term of a listing agreement expires, the agency relationship between the seller and the listing broker ends.  Although the agency relationship ends, the listing broker generally cannot disclose any information learned during the term of the listing agreement.  Therefore, your fiduciary duty survived the expiration of the listing and requires that you keep this information about potability of the well water at the mini-ranch confidential.

Note: This duty of confidentiality generally lasts forever and only a court instruction to disclose this information would relieve you from this duty.


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