Hoarders: Building safety vs. fair housing (4/27/2017)
How should a property manager deal with tenants who hoard possessions? It can be tricky. It’s a recognized disorder protected under the Fair Housing Act but safety codes still apply.
Can the seller terminate my listing agreement? (4/27/2017)
What are the broker’s rights if a seller wants to cancel a residential listing agreement?
Fee vs. deposit: What’s the difference? (4/27/2017)
Have you ever seen someone reference a “nonrefundable deposit” and wonder whether it’s a deposit or a fee? “Nonrefundable deposit” doesn’t make much sense to those of us working Florida Realtors Legal Hotline either.
Complaints happen. How you deal with it counts. (4/27/2017)
At times a customer will complain, and while it should be a rare occurrence for conscientious, detail-minded agents, the complaint is usually less important than the way it’s handled. Top recommendation: Create a standard office policy.
That’s unethical! But is it? (4/27/2017)
People sometimes behave badly, but not every questionable behavior violates the Realtor Code of Ethics. It’s not enough to get angry and say: “That’s not right.” To be a violation, the Realtor Code of Ethics must specifically address the issue.
Fake ‘Board’ still trying to scam you (4/13/2017)
Bills keep arriving in Realtors’ mailboxes for membership dues payable to a fake organization, only the crooks took the word “Realtor” out.
Why use an HOA addendum for a condo sale? (4/12/2017)
Legal Q&A: You represent the buyer of a condo, and the listing agent wants a signed homeowner’s association addendum as part of the deal. Does this make sense? Do you have to do it?
Meet the Florida Real Estate Commission (4/12/2017)
Seven people make up the Florida Real Estate Commission, and Chip Boring, Florida Realtors 1999 president, serves as chairman.
Flipping property? Legal details can be challenging (4/12/2017)
If a customer wants to use some type of unfamiliar transfer method, such as property “flips” or “simultaneous closings,” it can be intimidating for you – and potentially risky – unless you know the issues your customer might face during the transaction.
That cheap offer for Zillow leads isn’t from Zillow (4/12/2017)
Fraud warning: Online scammers have a single goal: They want you to send them financial info so they can steal your identity or credit. The latest to target the real estate industry? Fake emails that offer $5 Zillow leads paid for with a credit card.
Join the fight against scammers who steal listings (3/30/2017)
The last thing Realtors want to find is one of their listings posted on a website without permission,
Assignability of Contract: What does that even mean? (3/30/2017)
Assignability? Which contract option should your customer choose? As a Realtor, it’s your job to understand what assignability means if A) your buyer wants the option to do so, or B) your seller
Why can’t lawyers give a straight answer? (3/30/2017)
A lawyer can almost always make multiple arguments on either side after hearing a set of facts. It’s just a question of how strong those arguments would be if the lawyer had to make them in a court of law.
RESPA violation? The CFPB is watching (3/30/2017)
On Jan. 31, the U.S. consumer watchdog bureau charged two real estate brokers outside Florida with RESPA violations
FloridaRealtor/FloridaBar contract change: Q&As (3/30/2017)
When it comes to the new financing clause in the FloridaRealtor/FloridaBar contract that debuts April 4, most Realtors’ questions focus on timing:
Closing costs – What are they really? (3/15/2017)
Here’s one common pitfall on the road to a smooth closing:
4 simple ways to avoid legal trouble (3/15/2017)
If you’re not an attorney, don’t give legal advice. If you’re not a tax consultant, don’t point out legal tax deductions.
Property management: A legal overview (3/15/2017)
Most Realtors feel confident about the future, and many are actively growing their businesses. For some that means property management.
Test your ethics: Are these Realtors right or wrong? (3/15/2017)
There’s often a fine line between ethical and unethical behavior. Are these Realtors right or wrong?
What is a listing’s protection period? When does it apply? (3/2/2017)
This question often pops up on Florida Realtors Legal Hotline. A protection period isn’t a legal concept; however, it’s defined by the language in each specific form.
FAR/BAR update: Changes worth your attention (3/2/2017)
What has changed in the FloridaRealtors/FloridaBar contract that debuts April 4?
You received a FREC complaint. What’s next? (3/2/2017)
If you receive a letter from the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) stating that someone has filed a complaint about your service, you need to respond quickly and appropriately to avoid potential penalties.
Brokers’ top three legal issues today (3/2/2017)
Certain risks never go away, but new issues sometimes don’t even register on brokers’ radar until it’s too late.
Listing status changes: Only MLS rules need apply (2/15/2017)
A buyer and seller sign a contract that includes a specific number of days for the buyer to inspect the property, get financing or both. Should the listing be marked “active” in the
Closing agent vs. escrow agent: Aren’t they the same thing? (2/15/2017)
The short answer: No, they’re not — except they usually are. In most transactions, the buyer and seller agree to use the same agent for both functions, and some Realtors are surprised by the rare transaction that specifies different agents.
Most significant change in FAR/BAR update? Financing clause (2/15/2017)
The real estate industry changes and, when it does, the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Residential Contract gets updated. The latest version debuts April 4 and reflects those changes.
FREC changes CE requirements (2/15/2017)
Fla.’s real estate licensees will soon need to take an ethics course when renewing their license. The change, effective Oct. 1, won’t add hours to the
Power of attorney: When a seller isn’t really the seller (2/1/2017)
Sometimes a third party – often a lawyer or loved one – has the legal right to buy or sell a property on behalf of the owner, who is many times an older adult.
Can I do this – or is it an ethics violation? (2/1/2017)
Can you remove a lockbox without consent? Is it okay to pass on Legal Hotline advice? When showing another broker’s listing, can you float the idea of seller financing with the other broker’s client?
Is there any leeway in over-55 community rules? (2/1/2017)
The primary rule for over-55 communities – that 80% of units must have at least one resident age 55 or older – isn’t a goal, it’s a minimum fair housing standard.
A picture is worth 1,000 words – and maybe a lawsuit (2/1/2017)
“It’s on the Internet” does not mean “I can use this photo wherever I want.”
Dear Fair Housing Lady: Did I mess up? (2/1/2017)
A landlord doesn’t accept Social Security benefits, disability benefits or cash as rental income because they can’t be garnished. But he turned down a disabled adult with lots of cash and disability insurance income.
A fair housing violation? How can that be? (1/12/2017)
If a rental sign says “No Families,” it’s a clear violation of the Fair Housing Act – but other violations aren’t as obvious.
3 ways PACE assessments can impact your closing (1/12/2017)
If a listing boasts about a home’s solar panels and other energy-efficient benefits, how did the seller finance those upgrades?
No, you can’t simply copy photos found online (1/12/2017)
A photo, like written content, has copyright protection, meaning someone owns the image and has the right to control its use.
Should I let the owner hold a security deposit? (1/12/2017)
One of our owners insists on holding the security deposit if we manage his property. I am somewhat nervous about this as this owner is not in the best financial shape and may spend the money.
Can you criticize a competitor on social media? (12/20/2016)
Using a personal account on social media to make disparaging comments about another Realtor does not absolve you from a possible ethics violation.
How well do you know RESPA? (12/20/2016)
Here are a few common scenarios involving real estate broker/agent practices that will test your knowledge of what may or may not trigger a RESPA violation.
Can a seller withdraw a counter offer? (12/20/2016)
Your buyers have verbally accepted a counter offer on their dream home. But the seller gets cold feet and withdraws his counter offer. Is the seller’s move legal?
Lease breaks due to medical reasons (12/20/2016)
Every landlord will eventually experience the situation in which the tenant wishes to break a lease due to a family, medical or work issue. Here’s what you need to know.
Disclosures: Condo vs. homeowner’s associations (12/15/2016)
Understand the differences in seller disclosure requirements for property located in a condo vs. homeowner’s association for a smooth transaction.
Legal protection for military tenants (12/15/2016)
I recently became a property manager in a town that has a strong military presence. Can you review some of the key laws I should know when working with service members?
Service animals: Can you ask someone to prove need? (12/15/2016)
As a Realtor, the answer is no. But the housing providers you represent may request certain kinds of information of disabled persons.
Does an addendum change a contract’s effective date? (12/15/2016)
You’ve submitted an ASIS Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase and both the buyer and seller have executed it. Two weeks later, the two parties decide to include an addendum. Does that mean the effective date of the contract is changed?
Must a rental home’s irrigation system work? (12/2/2016)
New tenants want the property owner to repair the home’s irrigation system, which hasn’t worked in 10 years. Must the owner make this potentially costly repair?
Beware: Wire fraud on the rise (12/2/2016)
Wire fraud cases are on the rise, and buyers are being bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Change your business practices to help ensure you and your customers don’t become victims.
Are you responsible for an incorrect property description? (12/2/2016)
Realtor Regina was excited to take her first listing — a beautiful beachfront home with custom features. In the property description, she made a point to mention the roof was in good condition, since that is what the seller had told her.
When ‘no pet’ rules meet assistance animals (12/2/2016)
If you’re working with landlord or community association, knowing the difference between an assistance animal and pet can help avoid legal troubles.
Purchase contracts: Deposit required to seal the deal? (11/17/2016)
Several things make a purchase contract legally binding, and earnest money isn’t one of them.
Careful work now can save you from contract pain later (11/17/2016)
At the heart of a successful closing is a contract that’s filled out completely and properly executed by all parties.
5 Ways to manage social media risks (11/17/2016)
It's great to engage with social media, but there are also some risks that you need to consider, including possible violations of the Realtor Code of Ethics and state and federal laws.
How Airbnb could affect your sales (11/17/2016)
Airbnb, the online service allowing people to host or rent their homes for a fee, has exploded in Florida. But its success is also creating problems for some local governments and hoteliers, and it could impact you as well.
Who’s entitled to a referral fee? (11/17/2016)
As with other payments for real estate services, only real estate brokers may receive referral fees, which they may then distribute to their sales associates. However, Florida law provides an exception to the general rule.
Can you advertise another broker’s property listing? (11/3/2016)
IDX is a virtual goldmine of data on homes for sale, including photos, narratives and property details. But you have to be careful how you use this information to stay out of legal and ethical trouble.
Damage claims and security deposits (11/3/2016)
If a landlord intends to make a claim for damages on a tenant’s security deposit, how quickly and by what means must the landlord file the claim?
Is your website ADA compliant? (11/3/2016)
If your website does not yet meet standards for usability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s time to think about updating it.
Resolving escrow disputes starts with this question (11/3/2016)
How a dispute is resolved and who resolves it always starts with the answer to this question: Who is holding the funds?
6 ways to take title of Florida real estate (11/3/2016)
Who holds title to a property can affect property, income and estate taxes, the ability to transfer title and probate in the event of death.