Florida real estate statutes have radically changed. Realtors no longer have to present a menu of agency options to consumers, as agency has defaulted to transactional brokerage in the state, but they do have to disclose their transactional brokerage status to consumers for the next five years.
In an open letter to consumers and real estate professionals, Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Diane Carr writes that Governor Jeb Bush has "signed into law Senate Bill 2238, chapter 475, Florida Statutes, which was enacted by the 2003 Legislature. The chapter sets forth the law that governs the conduct of real estate licensees and appraisers in Florida."
Carr continues, "In enacting the law, the Legislature and the Governor have put in motion a mandate that is well tailored to protecting real estate rights in Florida. The new law represents the combined efforts of professionals in the real estate and appraisal industries and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, who combined their expertise to facilitate an in-depth evaluation of the needs of Florida’s consumers and licensees."
The changes which affect real estate licensees number as many as 24, but the statute that is making the most news among Realtors across the nation is 475.278 (1)(b) which presumes that "all licensees are operating as transaction brokers unless a single agent or no brokerage relationship is established, in writing, with the customer." In paragraph 475.278(2)(b), the statute continues written disclosure of the transaction brokerage relationship to the customer through July 1, 2008.
To view the changes to the statutes, click here .
"I served on the workgroup that did the study and changes to Chapter 475 to modernize it," says Tom Scaglione , a Realtor who practices single agency. "We read it line by line and made changes as we saw fit to bring the law into the 21st Century. Most of the work my workgroup did was to the actual licensing for a real estate professional. There was a second workgroup that handled the Appraisal section of 475."
Explains Scaglione, "The work we did was almost totally accepted by the Division of Business and Professional Regulation, DBPR, with only a few changes. My personal feeling about the changes is that it will help to better clarify the profession. We have changed to a presumption of Transaction Brokerage with the opportunity to enter into a Single Agency Relationship with a Seller or a Buyer. We further removed some the penalties from the licensing law and let other administrative law cover fines and punishment. We felt that this was not a part of licensing but a part of Administrative Law.
"We are required for the next five years to give to the consumer a new disclosure which I have attached ," says Scaglione. "This just came out today. Looks like you can enter into a Single Relationship on page one or a Transaction Broker relationship on page three. Page two would only be used if you had entered into a Single relationship and had to transition to a Transaction Broker relationship if showing a company listing to a prospective Buyer. Of course with the permission of the Seller."
Scaglione admits that the changes will be "confusing to the average real estate professional."
"The good thing is that after five years, this notice goes away," he says.