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Be Wary of Engaging in Real Estate Activities Without a License


Many of us do what we can to help our neighbors, friends and loved ones. However, sometimes our kindness can go a little too far and cause us to end up in legal trouble.

That’s right—being too nice and helpful has its drawbacks, especially when it comes to real estate transactions. Whether you once had a license and it got suspended or revoked, or you have never had a real estate license, you could face serious punishment for helping someone buy, sell or rent a home. You may have never heard of someone doing such a thing, but it happens more often in tourist areas.

Buying or selling real estate for another party without a valid license is a crime in all 50 states, However, the charges vary from misdemeanors to felonies, with penalties including fines, probation and even jail time. There are laws that could prosecute the other party as well. For example, if you pay someone to help you sell your home, or offer them some sort of gift or kickback, you could face legal consequences as well.

You may think that these laws may not be enforced so strictly, but you would be wrong. In New Mexico in 2008, two property managers were fined $1,000 each for managing rentals without a license. Their crime was a misdemeanor at the time, but the law changed in 2011, upping the crime to a felony. A person engaging in real estate transactions today would face 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Keep in the mind that the laws apply for those who are buying or selling for someone else. If you want to sell or rent your own home, you can do so legally without a license.

What Florida Law Says

What happens if you try to buy or sell a property for someone else in Florida? According to Florida Statutes Section 475.42, a person cannot act as a real estate sales associate or broker without a valid license. This means that a sales associate cannot serve as a broker. This also means that a broker cannot employ a sales associate who does not possess a valid license.

A person who violates this law can be convicted of a third degree felony. A third degree felony is the least serious type of felony in Florida, but it is still punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

Keep Your License with Help From a Tampa Real Estate License Lawyer

Many professions require a license for a reason. These jobs are highly skilled and require specific education and training due to laws and complex procedures involved. Real estate is especially complicated, which is why those who work in this industry are regulated.

If you are a Florida real estate professional who is facing license loss or is considering continuing to work without a license, make sure you understand the ramifications of your decisions before proceeding. The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. has 30 years of experience representing real estate salespeople and other licensed professionals. To schedule a consultation, contact the office at (813) 968-6633.