REALTOR® Attorney Join Committee, originally published in the September issue of ELEVATE.
By: Pam Charron, Real Estate Advisor, COMPASS; and Sylvia Golden Norris, Esq.
The REALTOR® Attorney Joint Committee (RAJC) recently hosted a seminar at RASM. Attorney Danny Villazon, former Legal Counsel to the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) and Director and Chief Attorney for the DBPR, presented. Nearly half of all complaints this year resulted in the cases being open and investigated.
SELLER RECEIPT OF SIGNED LISTING AGREEMENT NON-DISCLOSURE OF CRIMES
The seller must receive a copy of the executed listing agreement within 24 hours of signing. Fill in the date at the bottom of the agreement, ask for confirmation of receipt and save this email. The seller may not remember having received a copy of the listing agreement, and you must be able to provide proof. (Fla. Stat. 472.25 (1) requires that every listing agreement include a definite expiration date, description of the property, price and terms, fee or commission, and a proper signature of the principal(s); and you must give the principal(s) a legible, signed, true and correct copy of the listing agreement within 24 hours of obtaining the written listing agreement.)
NOT PRESENTING ALL OFFERS
Documentation is critical in the event of any dispute (i.e., ethics). Having proof every offer was presented, or the seller waived receipt of the offer is key. Mr. Villazon recommends you send an email with a receipt from the seller for each offer presented/ waived or have the seller mark any unacceptable offer “rejected,” including the date that it was rejected. Yes, labor intensive in a multi-offer environment, but it is the agent’s responsibility to prove all were submitted and received by the seller. Another option to consider is to create an Excel sheet and email it to the seller, demonstrating all offers were submitted or waived at the seller’s directive.
AGENT’S CHANGE OF ADDRESS
You must update your DBPR records within 10 calendar days of any change of address. Failure to do so has led to revocation, and any lapse beyond 30 days of moving results in a permanent revocation. Verify or change your address at myfloridalicense.com.
NON-DISCLOSURE OF CRIMES
Regardless of how long ago it occurred, all crimes must be reported to FREC within 30 days of any plea, finding of guilt, or adjudication withheld, including misdemeanors (DUI, shoplifting, or simple battery).
UNLICENSED ASSISTANT ACTIVITY
While the FREC’s guideline list of permitted activities an unlicensed assistant can provide has been formally withdrawn, it is still helpful to use as a reference. The FREC is clamping down on unlicensed activity by assistants. Remember, unlicensed persons may not show the property (and are even discouraged to “just open the door”), hold open houses, or cold call for business.
VERIFICATION LETTER OF DEPOSIT RECEIPT
This is as much the agent’s responsibility as the broker’s. The verification request for every escrow deposit must be made in writing and within ten business days after each deposit is due under the contract. If a deposit is NOT received, that too must be conveyed promptly in writing to all parties. #1 FREC complaint against property managers – failure to deposit rental proceeds/escrow funds in the correct account (escrow only).
The name used in advertising must be the exact name registered with the FREC. The broker’s name must be equal to or larger than the agent’s name, and it must include the name of the broker and point of contact’s information (telephone number). If you are on a team, know the team advertising rules!
Keep all key emails, texts, and documentation with dates/timelines in a secured electronic file; it’s the best defense against any type of complaint (FREC, board, or lawsuit). If you are unable to save texts, do this: screenshot it, then save it in your cloud account or send it to your email for safekeeping.
This article is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with an attorney.