Cumberland, MD asked in Real Estate Law and Business Law for Maryland

Q: § 17-517. Office. What constitutes an "office" for the purposes of this statute?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: When citing to a title and section number of the Maryland Code, you need to specify which named Article you are referring to. There may be multiple §17-517s throughout the Maryland Code. Because you identified real estate as a practice area, perhaps you are referring to Business Occupations and Professions Article, Title 17, Section 517, which specifies that, "(a) Each licensed real estate broker who is a resident of the State shall maintain an office in the State ...[and] (b) Each licensed real estate broker who is a nonresident of the State shall maintain an office in this State if the state in which the nonresident broker resides requires a resident of this State who is licensed in the other state to maintain an office in that state."

The term, "office," is not given a special meaning in the definitional section of Title 17 nor in the more generally applicable definitional section of Tile 1 of the Business Occupations and Professions Article. Absent a regulation issued by the State Real Estate Commission further defining the term, which I have not looked up, you may use the ordinary dictionary meaning. That would include a home office if you operate out of your home. However, BO&P Section 17-317(a)(1) provides, in relevant part, that "A licensed real estate broker shall display at all times: (i) the license certificate of the real estate broker in a conspicuous place in the principal office of the real estate broker...." Principal office is generally held to mean the primary address out of which a person or business entity operates. So, unless you are an out-of-state real estate broker who is exempt under 17-517(b) quoted above, you must maintain at least a principal office in order to display your license certificate for viewing by prospective clients.

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