Calif. Business and Professions Code §§10159.5, 10159.6 and 10159.7
Added and amended by A.B. 2018
Effective date: January 1, 2015

An employing broker may authorize a real estate salesperson in their employ to file an application with the county clerk to obtain a fictitious business name under which the salesperson may conduct business. The salesperson filing for the fictitious business name is required to:

  • deliver to the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) an application signed by the broker requesting permission to use a county-approved fictitious business name identified with the broker’s license number;
  • pay any fees associated with filing an application with the county or CalBRE for a fictitious business name; and
  • maintain ownership of the fictitious business name subject to the control of the broker.

To reduce filing requirements, a team name is now defined separately from a fictitious business name. A team name is not considered a fictitious business name triggering the above requirements if the team name:

  • is used by two or more real estate licensees who work together to provide licensed real estate services under an employing broker;
  • includes the surname of at least one of the licensees in conjunction with the term “associates,” “group” or “team;” and
  • does not include the term “real estate broker,” “real estate brokerage,” “broker” or “brokerage,” or any other term suggesting the licensees are offering real estate brokerage services independent of a broker.

Any marketing materials — i.e., business cards, print or electronic media and “for sale” signs — using a fictitious business name or team name need to conspicuously display:

  • the licensees’ names and license numbers; and
  • the broker of record’s identity as prominently as the fictitious business name or team name.

A violation of these rules is no longer a misdemeanor.

Editor’s note — The increase in the number of salespersons using team names to create a brand identity gave rise to confusion about legal and filing requirements of fictitious business names vs. team names. This bill defines the standards a team name is required to meet to avoid the additional regulatory process required for fictitious business names. Team names now provide the benefit of bypassing the filing process, though they are more restrictive and do not offer the same versatility as fictitious business names.

Read more:

Read the bill text.