Facing a Real Estate Lawsuit? Florida Realtors Can Help
When they throw a punch, we fight back. The Florida Realtors Legal Action Fund is there to support you with a lawsuit related to the real estate profession or the industry.
Types of cases that may qualify
The Fund offers financial assistance toward litigation expenses (including attorney fees) for cases about issues including:
- commission disputes
- IRS disputes
- unauthorized practice of law
- unemployment insurance
- worker’s compensation
Cases must be based on points of law and not on factual issues.
Who qualifies for assistance
You can apply for assistance if you are a member of the Florida Realtors family, which includes:
- member agents.
- employees of a real estate brokerage.
- employees of a local Florida Realtor board/association.
Types of costs covered by the fund
The Legal Action Fund may cover:
- expenses related to educating Florida Realtors members and associations about their legal rights and duties under local, state and federal law.
- costs related to anticipated or pending litigation in state or federal court or before a local, state or federal agency.
- legal assistance to members or associations on litigation because of actions undertaken due to Florida Realtors or NAR procedures.
- part or all expenses for legal fees and litigation costs for a member or association that is suing or being sued.
- legal assistance to Florida Realtors officers and directors if they are sued in federal or state court or before a federal, state or local agency related to their official duties as officers and directors.
The following may not qualify for assistance from the Legal Action Fund:
- Errors & Omissions insurance, or any other protection programs at the local, state or national level
- Judgments for damages or fines
How to request assistance
To apply for assistance,
- Download this form. (Only a local board/association can submit the form. If you want to request assistance but are not a member, you must contact the board/association nearest you.)
- Fill out the form completely. A lawyer must write up a detailed statement about the case’s details and its significance to Realtors and/or the real estate industry.
- Submit copies of all related legal papers and documents, as well as an estimate of the cost of litigation.
The Board of Directors for the local association will review the application form. If the board agrees that the case involves an issue affecting Realtors or the real estate industry and that you are applying in good faith and deserve assistance, the board will add a letter of support and forward the whole package to the Florida Realtors legal services department.
The Florida Realtors legal services department will review the application to make sure that it is complete, write a legal opinion about the case’s facts and merits and whether it meets the criteria for support, and then submit everything to the Legal Action Fund Committee for consideration.
The committee will take a vote to determine whether to:
- forward the application and all supporting documents to the National Association of Realtors to fund the request.
- fund the request directly.
- fund the request with a combination of Florida and national funds.
- request additional information.
- reject the application and deny assistance.
The committee can also decide to fund legal efforts proactively, even if they haven’t received a request for funding from a local board.
Conditions of Participation
If you receive financial assistance from the Legal Action Fund, you must certify that you:
- intend to pursue the matter to final judgement.
- will assert a common defense with other Florida Realtors members who are current or likely co-defendents in the action.
- will not file a cross-action against another Florida Realtors member.
- will share any financial assistance from the Legal Action Fund with other applicants and co-defendents equally.
- will not settle the case before conferring with Florida Realtors legal counsel and getting approval from the Legal Action Committee. (If you do settle the case without committee approval, you must return the funds you received, as well as other money that the association spent related to your case.)
- will reimburse the Legal Action Fund for financial assistance if you recover any portion of your attorney’s fees or other litigation expense from any other source.
- will cover the initial cost of attorney’s fees and litigation expenses and will be reimbursed by the committee.
- will supply monthly status reports to the Legal Action Fund.
Your attorney must forward all bills to the local board/association, sending you a copy.
If it is a local board/association applying for assistance, the board will need to share the cost of the legal proceeding with the Legal Action Fund.
For more information, call us at 407.438.1400, ext. 2426.