2007 ORS 696.241¹
Clients’ Trust Accounts
  • notice to agency
  • authority to examine account
  • branch trust account
  • interest earnings on trust account
  • when broker entitled to earnest money
  • funds not subject to execution
  • rules

(1) Each sole practitioner and each principal real estate broker shall maintain in this state one or more separate bank accounts that shall be designated a Clients’ Trust Account in which all trust funds received or handled by the sole practitioner or broker and the real estate licensees subject to the supervision of the broker on behalf of any other person shall be deposited unless, pursuant to written agreement of all parties having an interest in the trust funds, the trust funds are immediately placed in a neutral escrow depository in this state.

(2) Each sole practitioner or principal real estate broker shall file with the Real Estate Agency, on forms approved by the Real Estate Commissioner, a statement identifying the name of the bank or banks, account number or account numbers, and name of account or accounts for each Clients’ Trust Account maintained.

(3) Each sole practitioner or principal real estate broker shall authorize the agency, by a form approved by the commissioner, to examine any Clients’ Trust Account, by a duly authorized representative of the agency. The examination shall be made at such times as the commissioner may direct.

(4) If a sole practitioner or principal real estate broker maintains a separate Clients’ Trust Account in a branch office, a separate bookkeeping system shall be maintained in the branch office, provided a copy of the records required by the provisions of ORS 696.280 (Records of real estate brokers) are maintained in the main office of the sole practitioner or broker.

(5) Trust funds received by a sole practitioner or principal real estate broker may be placed by the sole practitioner or broker in a federally insured interest-bearing bank account, designated a Clients’ Trust Account, but only with the prior written approval of all parties having an interest in the trust funds. The earnings of such interest-bearing account shall not inure to the benefit of the sole practitioner or principal real estate broker unless expressly approved in writing before deposit of the trust funds by all parties having an interest in the trust funds.

(6) With prior written notice to all parties who have an interest in the trust funds, a sole practitioner or principal real estate broker may place trust funds received by the sole practitioner or principal real estate broker in a federally insured interest-bearing bank account that is designated a Clients’ Trust Account and the earnings of which inure to the benefit of a public benefit corporation, as defined in ORS 65.001 (Definitions), for distribution to organizations and individuals for first-time homebuying assistance and for development of affordable housing. The sole practitioner or principal real estate broker shall select a qualified public benefit corporation to receive the interest earnings.

(7) A sole practitioner or principal real estate broker is not entitled to any part of any interest earnings on trust funds deposited under subsection (5) of this section or to any part of the earnest money or other money paid to the sole practitioner or broker in connection with any real estate transaction as part or all of the sole practitioner’s or broker’s compensation until the transaction has been completed or terminated. The question of the disposition of forfeited earnest money shall be negotiated between the sole practitioner or principal real estate broker and the seller at the time of executing any listing agreement or earnest money agreement. The result of such negotiation shall be filled in on the agreement form at the time of signing by the seller and either separately initialed by the seller or placed immediately above the signature of the seller.

(8) Clients’ Trust Account funds are not subject to execution or attachment on any claim against a sole practitioner or principal real estate broker.

(9) A sole practitioner or principal real estate broker may not knowingly keep or cause to be kept any funds or money in any bank under the heading of Clients’ Trust Account or any other name designating such funds or money as belonging to the clients of any sole practitioner or principal real estate broker, except actual trust funds deposited with the sole practitioner or broker.

(10) The agency by rule shall establish an optional procedure by which a sole practitioner or a principal real estate broker may elect to disburse disputed funds held in relation to the sale, exchange or purchase of real estate from a Clients’ Trust Account to the person who delivered the funds to the sole practitioner or principal real estate broker. The procedure shall allow disbursal not more than 20 days after a request is made for the disbursal. A disbursal pursuant to the procedure does not affect the claim of any other person to the funds.

(11) The agency may provide by rule for other records to be maintained and for the manner in which trust funds are deposited, held and disbursed. [1975 c.746 §18 (enacted in lieu of 696.240); 1977 c.649 §39; 1981 c.617 §11a; 1985 c.589 §4; 1991 c.5 §37; 2001 c.300 §21; 2003 c.224 §1; 2005 c.116 §18; 2005 c.393 §2a; 2007 c.224 §1; 2007 c.319 §9; 2007 c.337 §4]

See also annota­tions under ORS 696.240 in permanent edi­tion.

Notes of Decisions

Since purpose of this sec­tion is to prevent abuses arising from commingling of funds entrusted to brokers with brokers' other funds, "neutral escrow depository" means an escrow depository other than a broker, but includes escrow depositories owned or controlled by a broker. Banif Corp. v. Black, 12 Or App 385, 507 P2d 49 (1973)

Broker was not guilty of "conversion" of down pay­ment where clear evidence showed broker complied with statutory require­ments by depositing down pay­ment made by purchaser in trust fund account. Huszar v. Certified Realty Co., 278 Or 29, 562 P2d 1184 (1977)

Chapter 696

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Sales of subdivision lots by mobile home salespeople, (1975) Vol 37, p 865; sales or offers of interests in limited partnerships to invest in real estate, (1978) Vol 38, p 1971

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 696—Real Estate and Escrow Activities, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­696.­html (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2007, Chapter 696, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­696ano.­htm (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.