How to File a Complaint With the Florida Real Estate Commission
All complaints to the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) must be in writing. You may write and mail a letter, or you can use the Uniform Complaint Form created by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), available for download here.
The complaint process and fines
Once a complaint is filed, DBPR determines whether or not the allegations in the complaint would, if true, constitute a violation of Sections 475 or 455 of the Florida Statutes or of FREC rules.
If DBPR determines they would constitute a violation, it will initiate an investigation. DBPR will notify the licensee or his or her attorney by promptly providing a copy of the complaint or other documents that prompted the decision to investigate.
The maximum administrative fine that FREC may impose is $5,000 for each count or separate offense. (Section 475.25(1), Florida Statutes)
Notifications about complaints
If a formal administrative complaint is filed with the FREC or DBPR against a sales associate, the associate’s broker will be notified about the complaint in writing. The notification will not be sent until 10 days after the finding of probable cause by the Probable Cause Panel or DBPR or until the sales associate waives his or her privilege of confidentiality, whichever occurs first. (Section 475.25(6), Florida Statutes)
The DBPR will also notify the person who filed the complaint of the status of the investigation, whether probable cause was found, and the status of any administrative proceeding or appeal. (Section 455.225(9), Florida Statutes)
Time limitations for filing complaints
A buyer or seller has five years to file an administrative complaint against a broker or broker associate. That is, five years after the act occurs (a sale, for example) or after the act is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. (Section 475.25(5), Florida Statutes)
Being a witness
If a FREC investigator interviews a sales associate as a witness to a transaction that resulted in a complaint, that sales associate cannot be sued because he/she is granted a privilege against civil liability unless the witness acted in bad faith or with malice in providing such information. (Section 455.225(11), Florida Statutes)