Q: Where in the statutes can I find the Commercial Real Estate Sales Commission Lien Acts?
A: The Commercial Real Estate Sales Commission Lien Act is in Chapter 475 Part III, Florida Statutes. The Commercial Real Estate Leasing Commission Lien Act is in Chapter 475 Part IV, Florida Statutes.
Q: I have a buyers’ broker agreement with a buyer who bought the commercial property I showed him. However, he is refusing to pay my commission set forth in our agreement. May I put a lien on the property?
A: No. The commercial lien law does not apply to an agreement between a broker and a buyer for compensation of services.
Q: I’m a sales associate and have been working on a commercial transaction for months. The seller is refusing to pay my commission, and my broker has refused to step in. May I put a lien on the seller’s proceeds for my commission?
A: No. The lien belongs only to the broker and not to an employee or independent contractor of the broker. Furthermore, the lien for commission arising under the law cannot be assigned and may not be enforced by a person other than the broker.
Q: I have a brokerage agreement with an owner of commercial property, dated October 15, 2005. I provided the owner and the closing agent a written commission notice before the closing date; however, the owner’s attorney says I’m not entitled to a lien on the owner’s proceeds because I didn’t have a disclosure in the brokerage agreement regarding the commercial lien law. Is this true?
A: Yes. Section 475.703(5), Florida Statutes, states that a broker must disclose to the owner at or before the time the owner executes the brokerage agreement that this law creates lien rights for a commission earned by the broker. The statute also states "a broker may not enforce a lien under this part for a commission earned under a brokerage agreement for which the disclosure required by this subsection was not made."
Q: I heard the commercial lien law has two parts. The first part deals with commercial liens on sale transactions and the second deals with liens on a lease transaction. Is this true?
A: Yes. The second part of the commercial lien law gives a broker a lien upon the owner’s interest in commercial real estate for commission if the landlord is obligated to pay the commission pursuant to a "brokerage agreement" as defined by law.