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Wednesday, July 1, 2015  
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Orlando REALTOR® | July/August 2015

Licensee claiming to act as an agent of his personal trust must still uphold the Florida Statutes

A consumer complaint was filed with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation against a licensed real estate sales associate. In 2013, the associate facilitated a residential property management agreement. According to the terms of the property management agreement, the sales associate was authorized to procure a tenant, remit rent, and hold security in an escrow account.

The sales associate did not enter into the property management agreement on behalf of his broker or brokerage. Rather, the sales associate entered into the agreement as an agent of his personal trust, an entity unlicensed and unregistered with the department. Following his procurement of a tenant, the sales associate failed to place the security deposit into an escrow account.

An administrative complaint was filed by the department against the sales associate for violating Sections 475.42(1)(b), 475.42(1)(d), and 475.25(1)(k), Florida Statutes, as the real estate sales associate had operated as a broker, collected money in the name of a party other than his broker, and had failed to timely place a security deposit into an escrow account.

The sales associate responded to the administrative complaint in a timely fashion and attempted to dispute genuine issues of material fact. The sales associate submitted that the department lacked the legal authority to regulate this transaction or discipline his license, as the property management agreement had been executed in the name of his trust rather than in his own name.

The department scheduled the matter for an informal hearing, arguing that the sales associate had failed to raise any genuine issues of material fact. At the informal hearing, FREC found that the sales associate had indeed failed to raise any genuine issues of material fact and that he had acted as a broker, collected funds in a name of party other than his broker, and failed to timely place a security deposit into an escrow account. The sales associate was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine plus the costs of investigation, and his license was revoked.

Source: Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation


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