How to File a Complaint Against a Real Estate Agent in Florida
In the state of Florida, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) enforces proper business practices by real estate agents. To file a complaint against a Florida-based agent, you must complete an official complaint form and mail it to the Real Estate Division of the DBPR. If the agent is a Realtor (designating membership in the National Association of Realtors), you also have the option of filing a grievance with that organization.
Filing a Complaint Against a Real Estate Agent
Gather evidence that supports your complaint against the agent.The more documentation of misconduct or ineffectiveness you can provide, the more likely your complaint will be taken seriously.
- Include copies of any supporting paperwork with your complaint. This could include correspondence between you and the agent, listing agreements, rental or sales agreements, canceled checks, and more.
- The copies you provide must be legible so they can efficiently be reviewed by the Real Estate Division of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
- Provide only one copy of every form and document to the DBPR, and keep one for your records.
Acquire the Uniform Complaint Form.Use this form for all complaints related to Florida real estate. Print it from the Internet or obtain it from the DBPR Real Estate Division office.
- The required Uniform Complaint Form (RE-2200-2) is available or on the Real Estate Division page ().
- You may also call the Real Estate Division office at 1-850-487-1395 to obtain a form if you do not have Internet access.
Complete the Uniform Complaint Form.Fill out the form completely and honestly if you hope to have your complaint succeed.
- Indicate the nature of your complaint by placing a check mark in the appropriate box. The options provided include "unlicensed activity," "escrow deposit," "appraisal," and "property management." You can also choose "other" and indicate the nature of your complaint in the field provided.
- Provide your name, occupation, address, phone number, and email address in the appropriate fields.
- Write a detailed description about your complaint in the field for "Complaint Description." If you run out of room on the form for your description, you can use and attach additional sheets.
- Enter your attorney's information if you have hired one to assist you with your complaint.
- Provide the name, business, and contact information for the agent you are filing the complaint against under the section for "Subject of Complaint." If you are familiar with the agent's private attorney information, you can provide documentation for that as well.
- Enter the names and contact information for up to two witnesses into the appropriate fields, then sign and date the complaint form.
Mail the completed form and supporting documents.While it might be easier to email or fax your packet, it is clearly stated that complaints must be provided in writing and by mail.
- Address your envelope to: ATTN: Consumer Complaints Section, DBPR, Division of Real Estate, 400 West Robinson Street, Suite N801, Orlando, FL 32801.
Wait for a response and hope for the best.If the DBPR decides your complaint has merit, it will contact the agent with a copy of the complaint. The agent will either be required to respond to your complaint or the DBPR will open a confidential investigation into your complaint.
- If an investigation is opened, all information pertaining to the complaint will be kept confidential for ten days to ensure it is handled appropriately, without interference from either party.
- In some cases, the DBPR may request additional documentation from you to aid them in their investigation of your complaint. If so, you must provide the additional documentation within 30 days to prevent the DBPR from closing your case.
Filing a Grievance Against a Realtor
Establish that the real estate agent is a Realtor.While commonly used to designate any real estate agent, the title Realtor is actually a trademarked term of the National Association of Realtors.
- If the agent is a Realtor, you can file a grievance with that organization. Regardless, you can file a complaint with the Florida DBPR (as described elsewhere in this article) against any Florida real estate agent.
Consult the Realtors Code of Ethics.The National Association of Realtors produces and regularly updates a code of seventeen articles that defines appropriate professional behavior for members.
- Think of this as the legal code that will determine the result of your case. Successful grievances link Realtor misconduct to a violation of at least one of these seventeen articles.
Prepare your complaint.To prepare a grievance, specify your complaint in a narrative description of your dealings with the Realtor. Assemble documents that will support your claims as well.
- Describe your complaint in detail. Remember to connect it directly to a violation of at least one article of the Code of Ethics.
File your grievance.The process of filing a complaint may vary by local and statewide organizations within the National Association of Realtors. Contact the appropriate local, regional, or statewide branch for information.
- For instance, a Realtor in central Florida may be a member of the Orlando Regional Realtors Association (ORRA), so you would contact them for filing information.
Prepare for a hearing.If your complaint is determined to be legitimate by a Grievance Committee (which acts essentially as a grand jury), a hearing will be scheduled before a Professional Standards Hearing Panel.
- The hearing will operate similar to a legal proceeding, and the burden of proof lies upon you to provide “clear, strong, convincing” evidence of misconduct.
- You should definitely plan to attend the hearing. You can retain an attorney if you desire, and you can call witnesses during the hearing.
- As an entity within the National Organization of Realtors, the Panel has the power to suspend or terminate the membership of a Realtor. They have no right to levy fines or suspend or terminate a real estate license, however; this power rests only with the state of Florida.
- Remember that, if the agent is a Florida Realtor, you can file a grievance with the organization and file a complaint with the DBPR Division of Real Estate. These are separate processes with separate possible outcomes.
QuestionMy realtor called me nasty and insulting when she blew me off because I said my house was contingent on buyer property. She said it was selling hot here and to let her know after my house sold before she would deal with me. How could I file a complaint?
VP, CAPITALPlus MortgageVP, CAPITALPlus MortgageExpert AnswerAlthough she clearly did nothing to earn your business, she did not seem to violate any laws or regulations. If you want to warn others of her antics, you best bet is to leave her a review on a site like Zillow.Thanks!
QuestionCan real estate agents rent out their own property outside of the MLS?
VP, CAPITALPlus MortgageVP, CAPITALPlus MortgageExpert AnswerYes, any owner can do whatever they like with their own property as long as there are not any rental restrictions in the community.Thanks!
QuestionIf the agent did not sell my property, how long does the agent have to return the keys to the property?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour keys should have been returned when the listing agreement expired. If you've called and asked for them, contact the agent's broker.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I file a complaint against a realtor?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFollow the instructions listed in the article above.Thanks!
QuestionI priced the condo too sell unfurnished. If my realtor sold my property furnished, contrary to what I asked him to do, what recourse do I have?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you signed the purchase offer and have a binding contract to sell the furniture, then you are responsible to honor the agreement you signed.Thanks!
QuestionI have not heard anything about my complaint, and it's been six weeks. When will I hear something?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends when they find time to answer. If they are busy, then it might take longer. You just have to find things to do while you're waiting.Thanks!
QuestionIf I make an offer on a property, is the listing agent required to provide a signed (by the seller) counter-offer?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is up to the seller whether they wish to make a counter-offer or not. In fact, the listing realtor is under no obligation to respond to any offer, although they will often provide a verbal response to the seller's agent when it's not an offer acceptance and there's no counter-offer.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I file a complaint against a realtor?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can call the realtor office and ask to file a complant about that realtor.Thanks!
Is it legal for a realtor to represent both the seller and the buyer at the same time without permission?
The realtor and Title Agent showed up at my residence with a quitclaim deed form for me to sign. I no longer own the property. What can I do?
Is it illegal or unethical for a broker to issue multiple checks for one escrow to help the agent hide income from their spouse?
Is there an 800 number I can call to report bad realtor behavior?
My realtor lied to me. I was told 3 times I could use the restaurant. No fees were mentioned. What can I do?
- If you are filing a complaint strictly about an agent who does not have a real estate license, you can report any "unlicensed activity" by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-866-532-1440.
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