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In Good Forms

Know the Law: Octber 2006
Changes made this year to the real estate license law are certain to affect real estate professionals in their everyday business. Here’s what you need to know.

Judy Couto, broker–owner of Eglin Realty in the Fort Walton Beach area, knows she’s not missing important legal changes when she fills out contracts. That’s because she always downloads the latest forms from floridarealtors.org.

“I make sure [sales associates] have a current copy [of the forms] and that all of our systems are updated, especially when there’s a change like in the new transaction broker form that had to be updated as of July 1.”

Chapter 475 Changes
Earlier this year, Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill, HB 1009, which changes several provisions in Chapter 475, Florida’s real estate license law. The law took effect July 1, 2006.

Changes to Chapter 475 include allowing a broker-associate or sales associate to be licensed as a professional limited liability company; repealing the advance fee statute; making brokers more accountable for their sales associates and their trust (escrow) accounting practices; and amending the Brokerage Relationship Disclosure to ensure consistency with Florida law.

These changes impact forms received from FAR that Realtors® may be using and require the use of updated versions on or after July 1.

The legislation modifies the brokerage relationship disclosure notices found in Section 475.278, Florida Statutes. The “Important Notice” section of the Single Agent Notice, the Transaction Broker Notice and the No Brokerage Relationship Notice has been eliminated.

The new Transaction Broker Notice no longer includes the following statement: “FLORIDA LAW REQUIRES THAT REAL ESTATE LICENSEES OPERATING AS TRANSACTION BROKERS DISCLOSE TO BUYERS AND SELLERS THEIR ROLE AND DUTIES IN PROVIDING A LIMITED FORM OF REPRESENTATION.”

These changes were presumably made to bring the notices in line with a July 2003 law creating the presumption of transaction brokerage in Florida.

Changes to FAR Forms
Because HB 1009 modifies the brokerage relationship disclosure notices, the following FAR forms containing those notices were updated:

• Brokerage Relationship Disclosure—Single Agent (BRD-5sa) has been replaced by BRD-6sa;
• Brokerage Relationship Disclosure—Transaction Broker (BRD5tb) has been replaced by BRD-6tb;
• Brokerage Relationship Disclosure—Transition from Single Agent to Transaction Broker (BRD-6tn) has been replaced by BRD-7tn;
• No Brokerage Relationship Disclosure (BRD-2nbr) has been replaced by BRD-3nbr;
• Designated Sales Associate Disclosure (DS-4) has been replaced by DS-5;
• Exclusive Right of Sale Listing Agreement—Single Agent (ERS-10sa) has been replaced by ERS-11sa;
• Exclusive Right of Sale Listing Agreement—Transaction Broker (ERS-10tb) has been replaced by ERS-11tb; and
• Exclusive Right of Sale Listing Agreement-Transition From Single Agent to Transaction Broker (ERS-11tn) has been replaced by ERS-12tn.

Additional changes include:
• Penalties that the Florida RealEstate Commission (FREC) may impose on a real estate licensee charged with a violation of license law have increased from $1,000 to $5,000.
• Section 475.25(1)(u), Florida Statutes, makes it a violation for a broker to fail to reasonably manage or supervise a broker-associate or sales associate whose license is affliated with the broker.
• Section 475.161, Florida Statutes, was amended to allow sales associates to form professional limited liability companies in addition to professional corporations and limited liability companies.
• Licensees have been allowed to collect advance fees on listings (61J2 10.029, Florida Administrative Code) as long as they complied with Section 475.452, Florida Statutes. However, on July 1, 2006, the legislature repealed Section 475.452. Now real estate licensees may collect advance fees without complying with the advance fee requirements of that statute and rule.
• Section 475.25(6) requires the Department of Business andProfessional Regulation (DBPR) to promptly notify a licensee’s broker or employer in writing any time the DBPR files a formal complaint against a licensee. When the formal complaint is filed by FREC, the statute provides that the notice is to be provided by FREC.

These forms are available online via floridarealtors.org in Forms Online Basic and TransactionDesk. The FAR forms reader requires the use of Adobe Reader 5.05 or higher. Forms Online Basic is free, and those who also have the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader can use Forms Online Basic to input information onto forms and print them out, or to print blank forms. Used alone, this software doesn’t allow forms or changes to be saved. To save changes and modifications or e-mail completed contracts, users must purchase Adobe Acrobat Writer. Questions? Send us an e-mail.