And so any person under legal age may act as a broker. At least, a minor acting as broker could recover any earned commission, for it is the minor only, or on his death his representatives, who can take advantage of his infancy.17 The person employing such minor broker may, however, have some difficulty where any obligations arise on the broker's part which are contract obligations, for such the minor could avoid.18 But for any tortious acts, such as fraud, conversion, and the like, the minor would be liable the same as an adult.19
A partnership may act as agent. An authority by a principal to two persons not partners to do an act is joint, and the act must be concurred in by both. When a firm is appointed to an agency, this rule would necessarily be modified to the extent that either member of the firm could do any act within the scope of the agency just as he could perform any other partnership act. By appointing a partnership it would be implied that the authority was joint and several. But upon dissolution of the firm such an agency would cease.20
A business corporation may, in general, act as a real estate agent, if it is within the scope of its powers.
In some localities a license is required for, or a tax is imposed on, the right to do business as a real estate broker.21 It would be impossible to give any authoritative discussion of this subject, since in some instances the license or tax is imposed by municipal ordinance and in some by general statutes. All of these are subject to such frequent change or other vicissitude, that a presentation of them would be of little value for permanent use and the labor of gathering even an incomplete list would be quite an impossible task. We therefore reluctantly content ourselves with resorting to the well-worn suggestion that the local ordinances or statutes should in each case be consulted.22 In Texas it is held that the failure to pay the occupation tax and to obtain a license does not preclude a recovery of commissions.23
17 Clark on Contracts, 242.
18 2 Abb. Cyc. Dig. (N. Y.), 839; 15 Id., 1557; 27 Am. Dig. (Cent. Ed.), p. 1138; 16 Am. & Eng. Ency. of Law (2nd Ed.), p. 285.
19 2 Abb. Cyc. Dig. (N. Y.), 846; 15 Id., 1558. See Stone v. Rabinowitz, 45 Misc. 405 (N. Y., 1904), as to conversion.
20 Martine v. Int. Life Ins., 53 N. Y. 339 (1873); McLaughlin v. Wheeler, 1 S. D. 514 (1891).
21 A real estate agent who does not engage in the "purchase or sale of securities" is not required by the United States Revenue Laws to pay a tax. Rounds v. Alee, 116 Iowa 348 (1902).
22 The following authorities which bear on the subject may be of some value: Commonwealth v. Black Co., 34 Pa. Super. Ct. 431 (1907); Wiltse v. State, 55 Tenn. 544 (1873); Prince v. Eighth St. Church, 20 Mo. App. 332 (1886); Braun v. City of Chicago, 110 111. 186 (1884) ; Little Rock v. Barton, 33 Ark. 436 (1878); Ober v. Stephens, 54 W. V. 354 (1903); O'Neil v. Sinclair, 153 111. 525 (1894); Marker v. Tough, 98 Pac. 792 ( Kans. 1908); Denning v. Yount, 50 L. R. A. 103 ( Kans. 1900). See also Sec. 14-22 infra.
23 Watkins Co. v. Thetford, 96 S. W. 72 (Tex. 1906).