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  • | 12:00 p.m. February 16, 2010
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Q: Since real estate licensees are presumed to be transaction brokers, does that mean that licensees are no longer required to provide the Transaction Broker Notice to buyers and sellers whom the licensee intends to represent as a transaction broker?

(Note: Chapter 475, Florida Statutes, defines a transaction broker as “... a broker who provides limited representation to a buyer, a seller, or both, in a real estate transaction, but does not represent either in a fiduciary capacity or as a single agent.”)

A: Yes. The requirement to provide the Transaction Broker Notice expired July 1.

Q: An administrative complaint has been filed against me. The complaint contains two counts. If I’m found in violation of both counts and the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) imposes a fine as part of the penalty, what is the maximum fine that could be levied against me?

A: According to 475.25, the maximum administrative fine that FREC may impose is $5,000 for each count or separate offense a licensee is found to be in violation of.

Q: Is a new home seller required to disclose insulation information in the contract?

A: Yes. Section 16, CFR 460.16, explains insulation disclosure requirements for new home contracts.

The regulation reads as follows: “If you are a new home seller, you must put the following information in every sales contract: The type, thickness and R-value of the insulation that will be installed in each part of the house.

“There is an exception to this rule. If the buyer signs a sales contract before you know what type of insulation will be installed or if there is a change in the contract, you can give the buyer a receipt stating this information as soon as you find out.”

Q: I recently obtained a listing. The listing is a “Limited Service Listing Agreement” wherein the seller is agreeing to pay me a flat fee to list the property in the MLS. I indicated in the remarks section that cooperating brokers should contact the seller directly for showing instructions and contract negotiations. If a cooperating broker who participates in our MLS procures a buyer who enters into a purchase and sale contract with my seller, who is responsible for paying the commission offered in the MLS-me or the seller?

A: The MLS offer of compensation is a unilateral offer made by the listing broker, not the seller. Therefore, the listing broker is responsible for paying the cooperating broker the commission offered in the MLS.

Q: May the broker be designated by the parties to receive the interest on the escrow deposit for the sale and purchase of real property?

A: Yes. However, the broker must follow precisely one of the two approved disbursement procedures provided for in Rule 61J2-14.014, FAC.

Q: I’m having small signs printed to direct prospects to my listings. My brokerage’s name is too long to fit on the signs, and larger signs cost a lot more. May I shorten the brokerage’s name to fit?

A: No. Rule 61J2-10.025(1), Florida Administrative Code, “all real estate advertisements must include the licensed name of the brokerage firm.” Abbreviations aren’t allowed.

Q: How does a buyer assign his or her rights in a sales contract to another party?

A: Buyer 1 (assignor) and Buyer 2 (assignee) should enter into a written Assignment of Agreement, which should be drafted by one of their attorneys.

Q: I own a brokerage firm and I also have an opportunity to become a broker for another brokerage corporation. If I apply for a multiple license, must I also have an ownership interest in this second brokerage corporation?

A: No. A broker isn’t required to be a shareholder in a real estate corporation. However, every broker licensed with a corporation must be registered as an officer or director of the corporation.

Q: Does the Section 404.056(5), Florida Statutes, radon gas disclosure have to be given to a buyer where the transaction involves the sale of vacant land?

A: No. The radon gas disclosure is not required for transactions involving unimproved properties.

Q: I keep hearing that pursuant to the Homeowners’ Association Disclosure law (Section 720.401, Florida Statutes), the seller must provide the buyer a current copy of the HOA documents. Is this true?

A: No. Section 720.401 does not require the seller to provide a copy of the HOA documents to the buyer. The buyer could, however, include a provision in his/her offer requiring the seller to provide the documents to the buyer.

Q: When I serve a three-day notice for a residential tenant to pay rent or vacate the premises, may I include a demand for payment of security deposit, late fees or attorney fees?

A: No. Additional charges, unless designated as rent in a written agreement, do not constitute rent, as defined in Section 83.43(6), Florida Statutes. A three-day notice which demands payment of charges other than rent would be defective.

Q: Is a cooperating broker who procures a buyer entitled as a matter of law to half of the commission that the listing broker receives?

A: No. There is no law entitling a cooperating broker to half of the commission received by a listing broker.



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