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Broker Business/Users/adamp/Desktop/Jan images/legalhotline
Q May two real estate brokerages share
office space?

A Yes. Each brokerage should pay its proportionate share of the rent, and the two brokerages should keep their businesses completely separate from each other, to avoid misleading the public, which would violate Section 61J2-10.025(1), Florida Administrative Code, and to avoid creating an ostensible partnership.

If the public perceives that the brokers or the brokerages are working together as one entity, an ostensible partnership (an agency relationship that arises by the actions of the parties rather than by an agreement) may be created. If an ostensible partnership is created, each broker or brokerage may be exposed to the other’s liability.

Each real estate brokerage must comply with the requirements of Section 475.22(1), Florida Statutes, which states that each active broker must maintain an office in a stationary building (1) with at least one enclosed room, and (2) an office entrance sign (including the broker’s name) on or about the office entrance that is easily observed and read by any person about to enter the office.

If the company is a partnership or corporation, the sign must contain the name or trade name of the firm or corporation, together with the name of at least one of the brokers. The words licensed real estate broker or lic. real estate broker must also appear on the office entrance sign.

Q May a sales associate ever waive their broker’s right to a commission on a real estate transaction?

A Yes, but only with the consent of the broker, since pursuant to Section 475.42(1)(d), Florida Statutes, the sales associate may collect compensation only in the name of the broker.

Contracts
Q The broker has a Florida Association of Realtors® Exclusive Right of Sale Listing Agreement with a seller for residential property. The seller and the buyer have entered into a sale and purchase contract, and the seller is refusing to pay the broker in accordance with the Exclusive Right of Sale Listing Agreement. May the broker place a lien on the seller’s property? 

A No, unless the seller has expressly agreed by contractual agreement to allow the broker to place a lien on the property, or the broker has obtained a judgment against the seller in a Florida court and recorded such a judgment, pursuant to Section 475.42(1)(j), Florida Statutes.

Thus, if the broker and the seller entered into the FAR Exclusive Right of Sale Listing Agreement, the broker would not have express authorization from the seller to place a lien on the property unless additional language had been added to the agreement whereby the seller agreed that the broker could place a lien on the property.

Landlord/Tenant
Q When a broker provides property management services to a landlord, must he or she hold the security deposit or advanced rents in escrow?

A No. Pursuant to  Section 83.49(1)(a) and (b), Florida Statutes, the landlord has the responsibility to hold the security deposit and advanced rents in a non-interest-bearing or interest-bearing account in a Florida banking institution.

The broker needn’t hold this money unless the broker and landlord agree that the broker will do so pursuant to a property management agreement. Further, the escrow agent, holder of the security deposit and advanced rents, should be designated in the lease between the landlord and the tenant.

Search through more Q&As online in the Legal Center at floridarealtors.org.