Broker Affiliation and Active Status

by MAR Staff | Oct 29, 2013

By Joseph Autilio Executive Director, Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons

Answers to agents’ questions regarding real estate licensing in Massachusetts.

Q. Where in the licensing law does it state that a broker can work for more than one broker?

A. There is nothing in the licensing law that concerns brokers working for other brokers. Rather, the licensing law limits a licensed salesperson by requiring an affiliation with only one broker at any one time. There is no such limitation on brokers. Another way of saying this is to simply note that if something is not prohibited in the licensing law then it is permissible unless, of course, some other law prohibits a particular type of conduct.

Q. Can I change my license from “active” to “inactive?”

A. Well, the short answer is “it depends.” If you are at the point where you are renewing your license it will be renewed as “active” or “inactive” depending upon whether you have completed the 12-hour continuing education requirement. If you did complete continuing education and answered “YES” on your license renewal application your license, by law, must be renewed by the Board as “active.” If you did not complete all 12 hours of continuing education and answered “NO” on your license renewal application, the Board, by law, must renew your license as “inactive.” Keep in mind that with an “active” license you can work whereas you cannot work with an “inactive” license, with the exception of earning referral fees paid by a licensed “active” Massachusetts broker.

If you are within your two-year license term and not at a renewal time, whether you can change the status of your license depends entirely upon how you last renewed your license and the status established. In other words if you did complete the continuing education requirement and answered “YES” on your license renewal application your license was renewed as “active.” The Board cannot, by law, change that status to “inactive” during that license term. On the other hand, if you did not complete the continuing education requirement and answered “NO” on your license renewal application, your license was renewed as “inactive.” Here the relevant licensing law requires the Board to change your “inactive” license to an “active“ license if you complete the twelve-hour continuing education requirement during the two-year term of that license and notify the Board.

Sometimes, perhaps for employment reasons, a licensed “active” broker wants the Board to change the status of the license to “inactive” and, as already noted, the Board cannot do this. These brokers may seek such a change because an employer may not want them to have a license with which they can work. But licensees with an “active” license are always free to refrain from working and while the Board is not able to change the license status from “active” to “inactive” during the license term, brokers can simply refrain from working or, alternatively, agree to contractually do so with their employers.