Floating Homes Legislation Proposed to Help REALTORS®

The Association of REALTORS® has been working hard to pass new legislation that would allow REALTORSSleepless in Seattle houseboat pic® to sell Floating Homes.

Under current law, real estate brokers are only allowed to sell floating homes if the broker has a vessel dealer’s sales license. A real estate broker license from the Real Estate Division of the Department of Licensing does not authorize a real estate broker to sell the floating home of another owner.  A change in state law is required to allow real estate brokers to sell floating homes without being in violation of the vessel sales licensing statute.

So, at the request of the Association of REALTORS®, Representatives Brandon Vick and Steve Kirby have sponsored House Bill 1309 which would allow licensed real estate brokers to sell floating homes. Kirby, a Democrat, is the Chair of the Businesses and Financial Services Committee in the House of Representatives, and Vick is the ranking Republican on that committee. On February 3rd the Committee approved the bill with a “do pass” recommendation and sent it to the House Rules Committee which will decide whether or not to the whole House of Representatives will get to vote on the bill.  If that happens, and the House of Representatives approves the bill, it would go to the State Senate for consideration under a similar process.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of the bill form the Legislature’s website:

  • A real estate broker is a person who, among other things, negotiates for others the purchase, sale, exchange, lease, or rental of real property, business opportunities, or manufactured homes in conjunction with the land on which the home is located. A real estate broker, associate (sic) broker, or salesperson is required to obtain a license from the Department of Licensing (Department).
  • A vessel dealer is a person engaged in the business of selling watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water, not including seaplanes. Vessel dealers must also obtain a license from the Department to sell vessels in Washington.
  • Certain kinds of residential homes float on the water. There are two types of such homes, each treated differently by law. The first is a floating home, defined as a single-family dwelling constructed on a float that is moored or anchored in the water. Such homes are not considered vessels, even if they are capable of being towed. The second kind of floating domicile is a floating on-water residence, defined as a floating residence with detachable utilities whose owner or occupant has held an ownership or leasehold interest in a marina space since at least June 30, 2014.
  • Under the bill, the definition of real estate brokerage services would be amended to include dealing in floating homes and floating on-water residences, and real estate brokers would be exempt from licensure as vessel dealers for the purpose of selling floating on-water residences.