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Think Only Felonies Are Reported to the Division of Real Estate?

Chapter 475 oversees real estate licensees, but Fla. licensees also have other obligations under Chapter 455. It’s a growing problem for licensees called before FREC, because “I didn’t know I had to report that” doesn’t carry much weight.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Are you aware of your obligations under Chapter 455 of the Florida Statutes? Most Realtors understand they must comply with Chapter 475, but many don’t understand that there are additional compliance requirements under Chapter 455.

Having just attended the last FREC meeting, it’s evident that one of the most commonly misunderstood provisions under the chapter requires a licensee’s obligation to self-report to the department, within 30 days, if they’re convicted, found guilty or entered a plea of nolo contender or guilty, to a crime in any jurisdiction.

If this is new information for you and you’re called before the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC), claiming “I didn’t know about that rule” isn’t going to help your case.

Non-compliance can result in fines and additional education requirements.

Chapter 455 details general provisions for business and professional regulation, and they apply to all types of Florida licensees. Some examples of Chapter 455 violations include:

  • Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope they’re permitted to do under the law
  • Accepting and performing professional responsibilities the licensee knows, or has reason to know, they’re not competent to perform
  • Making or filing a report that the licensee knows to be false

Many agents are aware of the Chapter 475 requirement to report felonies, but Chapter 455.227(1)(t) expands that obligation.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has an online form licensees can be used to comply with this self-reporting requirement. It can be found at: myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/criminal-self-reporting.

Meredith Caruso is Associate General Counsel for Florida Realtors

Note: Advice deemed accurate on date of publication

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