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Howell, Buchan & Strong - Professional License Defense Attorneys in Florida

How Florida Realtors Challenge FREC Administrative Complaints

October 26, 2020
Est read time: 3 minutes

Florida Realtors: How to Challenge a FREC Administrative Complaint

If you are a realtor in the State of Florida and have received a FREC Administrative Complaint, it’s important to respond quickly. Consulting legal advice on this response can help your case.

First, it’s helpful to understand why you received the complaint and how the FREC Administrative Complaint process works.

How the FREC Administrative Complaint Process Works

The process starts when a written complaint is filed from the public or other source. 

  1. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) determines whether allegations in the complaint constitute a violation of Sections 475 or 455 of the Florida Statutes or of FREC rules.
  2. If it does constitute a violation, the DBPR initiates an investigation.
  3. The licensee or his or her attorney is notified through a copy of the complaint or other documents that prompted the decision to investigate. 
  4. The “letter of investigation” requires the licensee to respond within 20 days.

Responding to FREC Complaint Investigation

Your response must occur within 20 days of receiving the letter and can be written or verbal.

Our firm can respond to the investigator on your behalf, requiring the investigator to only communicate with our office to provide a statement. This is an important requirement to protect you and to avoid costly mistakes in the investigation process.

In some instances, we may be able to provide a written response which may get the complaint dismissed.

What if the FREC investigation results in a formal administrative complaint?

  • You have 21 days to provide a response to a formal administrative complaint.
  • Our firm strategically denies parts of the complaint depending upon the facts.
  • For some complaints, we admit the facts as they may at times be undisputable.
  • Once we file the response, we are able to communicate with FREC/FREAB/DPBR attorneys.
  • The maximum administrative fine that FREC may impose is $5,000 for each count or separate offense. (Section 475.25(1), Florida Statutes)

Preparing for a Formal or Informal FREC Hearing 

Preparation and having all pertinent documents is key. If there are no disputed facts, the case will be brought before the board for discipline.  It is best to have an attorney familiar with the board and how to present arguments as well as to have certain documents presented to the board.

If we are allowed for a Formal Hearing which will be heard at the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH).  This is a trial.  No one should risk their career and livelihood at a trial setting without legal counsel. 

Settlement Agreement

Even if a settlement agreement is agreed upon between the licensee and the DPBR/FREC/FREAB attorney, this Settlement Agreement must be presented in a hearing and agreed upon by the board.

An experienced attorney will work toward getting the best settlement for the licensee as well as one that will pass the muster of the board. The board has the legal right to reject the settlement and can then provide more and sometimes even less discipline to the licensee.  

An experienced attorney will prepare their client to answer any questions the board may have of the licensee as well.

Need Legal Help? Let's Talk

Contact the law offices of Howell, Buchan & Strong, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation at any one of our locations:

Orlando (407) 717-1773 |Tallahassee (850) 877-7776 | Tampa (813) 833-6726 | Sarasota (941) 779-4348

Florida Health Care License Attorneys
We represent licensed realtors statewide.
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