In the Sunshine State, real estate agents and brokers are professionals who must be licensed by the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC). As a division of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the FREC consists of seven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
When a realtor acts negligently and the negligence results in damages (either physical or financial) to a property owner, it is possible to file a complaint with FREC and enter a lawsuit against the liable party.
In this article, you will find out what realtor negligence is and what to do if you become a victim.
Realtor Negligence in Florida – Explaining the Issue
When a real estate agent unintentionally misrepresents a material fact about a property, there is not a willful intent to deceive or harm anyone. Nonetheless, if the mistake results in damages to a buyer, the real estate agent may be liable for the injuries incurred by the unintentional actions.
In Florida, this type of legal claim is usually referred to as a “negligent misrepresentation,” as real estate agents have the legal duty to provide accurate information when involved in real estate transactions.
Accordingly, even if a real estate agent fails to meet this duty of care unintentionally (without the intent to harm or deceive a buyer) and the failure results in injury to the buyer, it creates legal ground for a professional negligence lawsuit.
Hence, a real estate agent may be held accountable by paying damages and compensating for the failure in their duty of care to an injured buyer.
As real estate agents are usually lawsuit-prone professionals, they should purchase professional insurance policies to cover claims associated with errors and omissions committed in real estate transactions.
Filing a Lawsuit for Professional Negligence Against a Florida Real Estate Agent
In Florida, real estate agents owe a duty of care to their clients, whether they are buying or selling property. In legal terms, a duty of care refers to a fiduciary duty held by an individual that requires him/her to meet a required standard of care.
A real estate agent has the responsibility not to allow clients to be harmed. If there is a breach of an agent’s legal duty of care that results in damages against a client, it is possible to hold the agent accountable in court.
Still, filing a lawsuit against a realtor based on negligence claims is a complex matter. Before seeking justice in court, a plaintiff must sit down with an expert attorney to assess whether there is solid ground for a lawsuit.
When assessing the situation, it is fundamental to look at the contract signed with the real estate agent and identify any language that may limit the agent’s liability in the post-closing. Also, it is crucial to identify if there are other parties liable besides or instead of the agent.
In case there was the occurrence of misrepresentation, a plaintiff must identify whether it was a mistake (unintentional misrepresentation) or misconduct (fraudulent misrepresentation).