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FLORIDA REAL ESTATE COMMISSION



Soreide Law Group Represents Real Estate Professionals Before FREC In Disciplinary Hearings

Division of Real Estate
The Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) consists of seven members and meets monthly. The commission meeting is usually the third Wednesday of the month and the immediately preceding Tuesday. The FREC administers and enforces the real estate license law, Chapter 475, Part I, Florida Statutes. The Commission is also empowered to pass rules that enable it to implement its statutorily authorized duties and responsibilities. These rules are contained in Chapter 61J2, Florida Administrative Code.

The Division of Real Estate of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation receives thousands of complaints every year. After reviewing each complaint, the Division submits to the Florida Real Estate Commission, also known as FREC, those cases for which it determines possess "probable cause" that a legally substantial violation has occurred. A real estate agent involved in a matter in which FREC finds the existence of probable cause is entitled to a trial, although it is officially referred to as a hearing. Since there's a prosecutor who is an attorney employed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, most real estate agents hire attorneys of their own to provide them with legal counsel to prepare for and provide representation during these hearings. There's no jury. Instead, the decision as to whether wrong doing did or did occur is decided by a "hearing officer" who serves in the dual role as judge and jury. For a real estate agent accused of wrong doing, the consequences can be severe. FREC issues over 500 "dispositions" of discipline, resulting in fines, probationary periods, the voluntary surrendering of real estate licenses or the revocations of licenses every year. Needless to say, these hearings are stressful and frightening. Not only is the hearing itself emotionally taxing, so are the weeks or months after the hearing while the hearing officer drafts a written decision regarding whether the agent did nor did not commit any wrongdoing. For those cases in which the hearing officer rules that agents did not violate any laws or rules, one would think that this anxiety would quickly disappear. That often is not the case. Many real estate agents, surprisingly, learn that FREC sometimes decides the hearing officer's ruling is, to put it simply, "wrong." To lawfully determine that a ruling by a hearing officer wrongfully ruled in favor of an agent who had been accused of wrong doing, FREC is legally obligated to issue very detailed explanations as to why hearing officers' decisions run afoul of "competent substantial evidence" or that the proceedings didn't comply with the "essential requirements of law." Too often, FREC fails to adhere to the law when overruling the decisions of the hearing officers. Fortunately, real estate agents are permitted to sue when FREC disregards the favorable rulings of hearing. Soreide Law Group will provide legal representation and properly construct defenses to protect your real estate license.

Real Estate License Renewal Information
To maintain your real estate license, all licensees must comply with post-licensing or continuing education requirements and pay necessary renewal fees. This also applies to those licensees with a suspended license.
In support of the statutory requirements for your profession, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation has implemented a 100% Post and Continuing Education Monitoring database. All course providers are required to report your education completion to the department within 30-days of completion, or prior to the expiration date, whichever occurs first.
Real Estate sales associates and brokers may earn three (3) hours of continuing education credit per renewal cycle for attending one legal session of the FREC.
If your required education is not complete and/or reported, you will NOT be able to renew your license.
New Licensees
All newly licensed sales associate and broker licensees must take required post-licensure education before the end of the first license renewal period. Your license will become null and void if you fail to take the post-licensure education within the initial licensure renewal period, as mandated by Florida statute.
Sales Associates who fail to complete the post-licensing education must re-qualify for licensure by meeting all current licensing criteria. Broker and broker associates who fail to complete post-licensing education may request to revert to sales associate status within 6 months following expiration, but must have complied with the applicable continuing education requirements before their new sales associate license can be activated.
We represent all real estate professionals with license denials, suspensions and revocations before the Florida Real Estate Commission or the Department of Hearing Officers (DOAH).

The Florida Real Estate Commission is governed by the following administrative rules.
61J2-24.001 Disciplinary Guidelines.
(1) Pursuant to Section 455.2273, F.S., the Commission sets forth below a range of disciplinary guidelines from which disciplinary penalties will be imposed upon licensees guilty of violating Chapter 455 or 475, F.S. The purpose of the disciplinary guidelines is to give notice to licensees of the range of penalties which normally will be imposed for each count during a formal or an informal hearing. For purposes of this rule, the order of penalties, ranging from lowest to highest, is: reprimand, fine, probation, suspension, and revocation or denial. Pursuant to Section 475.25(1), F.S., combinations of these penalties are permissible by law. Nothing in this rule shall preclude any discipline imposed upon a licensee pursuant to a stipulation or settlement agreement, nor shall the range of penalties set forth in this rule preclude the Probable Cause Panel from issuing a letter of guidance.
(2) As provided in Section 475.25(1), F.S., the Commission may, in addition to other disciplinary penalties, place a licensee on probation. The placement of the licensee on probation shall be for such a period of time and subject to such conditions as the Commission may specify. Standard probationary conditions may include, but are not limited to, requiring the licensee: to attend pre-licensure courses; to satisfactorily complete a pre-licensure course; to attend post-licensure courses; to satisfactorily complete a post-licensure course; to attend continuing education courses; to submit to and successfully complete the state-administered examination; to be subject to periodic inspections and interviews by a DBPR investigator; if a broker, to place the license on a broker associate status; or, if a broker, to file escrow account status reports with the Commission or with a DBPR investigator at such intervals as may be prescribed.
(3) The penalties are as listed unless aggravating or mitigating circumstances apply pursuant to subsection (4). The verbal identification of offenses is descriptive only; the full language of each statutory provision cited must be consulted in order to determine the conduct included.
VIOLATIONS     RECOMMENDED RANGE OF PENALTY
(a) Section 475.22, F.S.     (a) The usual action of the Commission shall be to impose a suspension of up to 90 days.
Broker fails to maintain office and sign at entrance of office     
(b) Section 475.24, F.S.     (b) The usual action of the Commission shall be to impose a suspension of up to 90 days.
Failure to register a branch office     
(c) Section 475.25(1)(b), F.S.     (c) In the case of fraud, misrepresentation and
Guilty of fraud, misrepresentation, concealment,     dishonest dealing, the usual action of the
false promises, false pretenses, dishonest dealing by     Commission shall be to impose a penalty of
trick, scheme or device, culpable negligence or     revocation.
breach of trust. Guilty of violating a duty imposed     In the case of concealment, false promises and
by law or by the terms of a listing agreement; aided,     false pretenses, the usual action of the Commission
assisted or conspired with another; or formed an     shall be to impose a penalty of a 3 to 5 year
intent, design or scheme to engage in such misconduct
and committed an overt act in furtherance of such
intent, design or scheme     suspension and an administrative fine not to
exceed $5,000.
In the case of culpable negligence and breach of
     trust, the usual action of the Commission shall be
     to impose an administrative fine not to exceed
$5,000 and to a 1 year suspension.
     In the case of violating a duty imposed by law or a listing agreement; aided, assisted or conspired; or formed an intent, design or scheme to engage in such misconduct, the usual action of the Commission shall be to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 and up to a 5 year suspension.
(d) Section 475.25(1)(c), F.S.     (d) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
False, deceptive or misleading advertising     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 and up to a 1 year suspension
(e) Section 475.25(1)(d), F.S.     (e) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Failed to account or deliver to any person as
required by agreement or law, escrowed property     impose an administrative fine not to exceed
$5,000 and up to a 5 year suspension.
(f) Section 475.25(1)(e), F.S.     (f) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Violated any rule or order or provision under     impose an 8 year suspension to
Chapters 475 and 455, F.S.     revocation and an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000.
(g) Section 475.25(1)(f), F.S.     (g) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Convicted or found guilty of a crime related to real
estate or involves moral turpitude or fraudulent or
dishonest dealing.     impose a 7 year suspension to revocation and an administrative finenot to exceed $5,000.
(h) Section 475.25(1)(g), F.S.     (h) Imposition of discipline comparable to the
Has license disciplined or acted against or an     discipline which would have been imposed if the
application denied by another jurisdiction     substantive violation had occurred in Florida or
     suspension of the license until the license is
     unencumbered in the jurisdiction in which the
     disciplinary action was originally taken, and an
     administrative fine not to exceed $5,000.
(i) Section 475.25(1)(h), F.S.     (i) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Has shared a commission with or paid a fee to a
person not properly licensed under Chapter 475,
F.S.     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
and up to a 5 year suspension.
(j) Section 475.25(1)(i), F.S.     (j) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Impairment by drunkenness, or use of drugs or     impose a penalty of suspension for the period of
temporary mental derangement     incapacity.
(k) Section 475.25(1)(j), F.S.     (k) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Rendered an opinion that the title to property sold is     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
good or merchantable when not based on opinion of     and up to a 6 month suspension.
a licensed attorney or has failed to advise     
prospective buyer to consult an attorney on the     
merchantability of title or to obtain title insurance      
(l) Section 475.25(1)(k), F.S.     (l) The usual action of the Commission shall be to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 and a 90 day suspension to revocation.
Has failed, if a broker, to deposit any money in     
an escrow account immediately upon receipt until     
disbursement is properly authorized. Has failed, if a     
sales associate, to place any money to be escrowed     
with his registered employer      
(m) Section 475.25(1)(l), F.S.     (m) The usual action of the Commission shall be
Has made or filed a report or record which the
licensee knows to be false or willfully failed to file
a report or record or willfully impeded such filing
as required by State or Federal Law.     to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
and up to a 2 year suspension.
(n) Section 475.25(1)(m), F.S.     (n) In the case of a licensee who renews the
Obtained a license by fraud, misrepresentation or     license without having complied with Rule
concealment     61J2-3.009, F.A.C., and the act is discovered
     by the DBPR, the usual action of the Commission
     shall be to impose a penalty of revocation. In the
     case of a licensee who renews the license
     without having complied with Rule 61J2-3.009, F.A.C.,
     and the licensee brings the matter to the attention of the
     DBPR, the usual action of the Commission shall be to
     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000.
     In all other cases, the usual action of the
     Commission shall be to impose a penalty of
     revocation and an administrative fine not
to exceed $5,000 and a penalty of revocation.
(o) Section 475.25(1)(n), F.S.     (o) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Confined in jail, prison or mental institution; or     impose a penalty of revocation
through mental disease can no longer practice with     
skill and safety      
(p) Section 475.25(1)(o), F.S.     (p) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Guilty for the second time of misconduct in the     impose an administrative fine of not to exceed $5,000
practice of real estate that demonstrates     and a 1 year suspension to revocation.
incompetent, dishonest or negligent dealings with     
investors      
(q) Section 475.25(1)(p), F.S.     (q) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Failed to give Commission 30 day written notice     impose a 5 year suspension to
after a guilty or nolo contendere plea or convicted     revocation
of any felony      
(r) Section 475.25(1)(q), F.S.     (r) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Licensee has failed to give the      impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
and up to a 5 year suspension
Transaction Broker Notice or     
Single Agent Notice at the requisite period of time     
under the provisions of Section 475.278,     
F.S.; failed to properly secure the Consent to     
Transition to Transaction Broker or Designated     
Sales Associate forms as required in Section 475.2755 or     
475.278, F.S.; failed to act in a manner as     
prescribed in Section 475.2755 or 475.278, F.S.      
(s) Section 475.25(1)(r), F.S.     (s) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Failed to follow the requirements of a written listing     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
agreement     and up to a 3 year suspension.
(t) Section 475.25(1)(s), F.S.     (t) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Has had a registration suspended, revoked or
otherwise acted against in any jurisdiction.     impose a 6 year suspension to revocation
and an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000.
(u) Section 475.25(1)(t), F.S.     (u) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Violated the Uniform Standards of Professional
Appraisal Practice as defined in Section 475.611, F.S.     impose a 5 year suspension to revocation.
(v) Section 475.25(1)(u), F.S.
Has failed, if a broker, to direct, control, or manage a
broker associate or sales associate employed by such
broker.     (v) The usual action of the Commission shall be to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $ 5,000, and up to a 1 year suspension to revocation.
(w) Section 475.25(1)(v), F.S.
Has failed, if a broker, to review the brokerage’s trust
accounting procedures in order to ensure compliance with
this chapter.      (w) The usual action of the Commission shall be to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $ 5,000, and a 1 year suspension to revocation.
(x) Section 475.25(2), F.S.     (x) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
License issued by error of the Commission     impose a penalty of an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000, and a 1 year suspension to revocation.
(y) Section 475.42(1)(a), F.S.     (y) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Practice without a valid and current license     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
and a 3 year suspension to revocation.
(z) Section 475.42(1)(b), F.S.     (z) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Practicing beyond scope as a sales associate     impose a 3 year suspension to revocation.
(aa) Section 475.42(1)(c), F.S.     (aa) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Broker employs a sales associate who is not the holder of     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
a valid and current license     and a 90 day to a 2 year suspension.
(bb) Section 475.42(1)(d), F.S.     (bb) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
A sales associate shall not collect any money in     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
connection with any real estate brokerage     and up to a 3 year suspension.
transaction except in the name of the employer      
(cc) Section 475.42(1)(e), F.S.     (cc) The usual action of the Commission shall be
A violation of any order or rule of the Commission     to impose an 8 year suspension to revocation and an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000.
(dd) Section 475.42(1)(g), F.S.     (dd) The usual action of the Commission shall be
Makes false affidavit or affirmation or false
testimony before the Commission.     to impose of an administrative fine not exceed $5,000
and up to a 3 year suspension
(ee) Section 475.42(1)(h), F.S.     (ee) The usual action of the Commission shall be
Fails to comply with subpoena     to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
     and a 6 month to a 5 year suspension.
(ff) Section 475.42(1)(i), F.S.     (ff) The usual action of the Commission shall be
Obstructs or hinders the enforcement of Chapter     to impose revocation.
475, F.S.      
(gg) Section 475.42(1)(j), F.S.     (gg) The usual action of the Commission shall be
No broker or sales associate shall place upon the     to impose a 5 year suspension to revocation.
public records any false, void or unauthorized     
information that affects the title or encumbers any     
real property      
(hh) Section 475.42(1)(k), F.S.     (hh) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Failed to register trade name with the Commission     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
to a 6 month suspension
(ii) Section 475.42(1)(l), F.S.     (ii) The usual action of the Commission shall be
No person shall knowingly conceal information     to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
relating to violations of Chapter 475, F.S.     and up to a 3 year suspension
(jj) Section 475.42(1)(m), F.S.     (jj) The usual action of the Commission shall be
Fails to have a current license as a broker or     to impose revocation
sales associate while listing or selling one or more     
timeshare periods per year      
(kk) Section 475.42(1)(n), F.S.     (kk) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Licensee fails to disclose all material aspects of the     impose revocation
resale of timeshare period or timeshare plan and the     
rights and obligations of both buyer or seller      
(ll) Section 475.42(1)(o), F.S.     (ll) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Publication of false or misleading information;     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
promotion of sales, leases and rentals     and up to a 1 year suspension
(mm) Section 475.451, F.S.     (mm) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
School teaching real estate practice fails to obtain a     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
permit from the department and does not abide by     and up to a 6 month suspension
regulations of Chapter 475, F.S., and rules adopted     
by the Commission      
(nn) Section 475.453, F.S.     (nn) The usual action of the Commission shall be
Broker or sales associate participates in any rental     to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
information transaction that fails to follow the     and up to a 3 year suspension
guidelines adopted by the Commission and Chapter     
475, F.S.      
(oo) Section 475.25(1)(c), F.S.     (oo) The usual action of the Commission shall be to
Failure to produce records within 5 business days from
receipt of request for inspection or audit or to maintain
records as required.     impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000
and up to a 3 month suspension.
(4)(a) When either the Petitioner or Respondent is able to demonstrate aggravating or mitigating circumstances to the Commission in a Section 120.57(2), F.S., hearing or to a Division of Administrative Hearings hearing officer in a Section 120.57(1), F.S., hearing by clear and convincing evidence, the Commission or hearing officer shall be entitled to deviate from the above guidelines in imposing or recommending discipline, respectively, upon a licensee. Whenever the Petitioner or Respondent intends to introduce such evidence to the Commission in a Section 120.57(2), F.S., hearing, advance notice of no less than seven (7) days shall be given to the other party or else the evidence can be properly excluded by the Commission.
(b) Aggravating or mitigating circumstances may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The degree of harm to the consumer or public.
  2. The number of counts in the Administrative Complaint.
  3. The disciplinary history of the licensee.
  4. The status of the licensee at the time the offense was committed.
  5. The degree of financial hardship incurred by a licensee as a result of the imposition of a fine or suspension of the license.
  6. Violation of the provision of Chapter 475, F.S., wherein a letter of guidance as provided in Section 455.225(3), F.S., previously has been issued to the licensee.

Specific Authority 455.2273, 475.05 FS. Law Implemented 455.227, 455.2273, 475.22, 475.24, 475.25, 475.42, 475.421, 475.422, 475.452, 475.453, 475.455, 475.482 FS. History-New 11-24-86, Amended 10-13-88, 4-20-89, 5-20-90, 12-29-91, 11-8-92, 6-28-93, Formerly 21V-24.001, Amended 11-16-93, 2-29-96, 12-30-97, 11-29-98, 1-18-00, 2-5-04, 1-30-06, 12-25-07.