Navigating a Complaint Against your Real Estate License
When the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DPBR) issues an administrative complaint or denial of your real estate, appraiser, broker, or other license renewal license, it's important that you understand the law so that you can keep working.
DPBR will issue an administrative complaint (A.C.) seeking revocation or suspension of your license or a denial of your renewal license. There are statutory provisions that can allow you to keep working and avoid losing licensing rights while litigating with the DPBR and the case is sent to the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH). This is referred to as a Stay Process. In this blog, we'll outline the steps you can take to protect your livelihood and where you can go to get help with the legal process.
The Stay Process | Step 01
After receiving the complaint or denial, it is crucial that you file your election of rights (EOR) form or contact an attorney to prepare a request for a hearing.
Time is of the essence! You only have 21 days after receiving any of these notices to file the EOR. If not timely filed, the Department will default your case. If you do not complete the EOR form correctly, the DPBR only gives you one chance to correct it. If it is not corrected to pass review, the DOH will proceed to default your case.
When completing the EOR form, you must choose between an informal hearing (appearance before the Commission) and a formal hearing (appearance before an administrative law judge). It is helpful to have an attorney skilled in administrative law to assist in this making this choice. Upon filing your EOR or request for a hearing, a few statutes apply to help you keep working.
Note: Licensees should be reminded that if they continue to operate while the complaint or denial is pending, they must continue to comply with all applicable statutes, including filing renewal applications.
The Stay Process | Step 02
Equally important is that you can seek a stay after the Department enters a Final Order on a complaint seeking revocation or suspension or denial of your renewal license. This is step two of the stay process when you need to seek a court’s assistance to stay in business.
At this point, you need to appeal the final order and seek assistance from an appellate court. It is crucial to take an appeal within thirty (30) days of the “rendition of the final order” by the DOH. If an appeal is not taken, this right vanishes. After the appeal is filed, the licensee must seek a request for a stay or halting of enforcement of the final order issued by the DOH.
To void having to stop practicing under your real estate license, a stay must be granted by an appellate court of which there are five in Florida.
Help with Your Appellate Experience
An administrative law attorney with appellate experience can assist in seeking your stay before a specific District Court of Appeal. A licensee can seek help from either the district court of appeal (DCA) for their home county or the DCA where the agency is located in Tallahassee.
Contact Howell, Buchan & Strong if you need assistance for:
- Review of the Department’s Administrative Complaint or denial of your renewal license;
- Advice and counsel on options to save your license and keep practicing;
- Discuss ways to stay (or "freeze") the DPBR's attempt to suspend or revoke your license.
- Representing you against the Department in legal proceedings.
Have questions about buy/sell agreements or contracts? Contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong at 850-877-7776 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Our firm represents real estate agents, brokers, appraisers, and other professional licensees throughout Florida.
Orlando (407) 717-1773 | Tallahassee (850) 877-7776 | Tampa (813) 833-6726 | Sarasota (941) 779-4348 | Cape Coral 239-671-4243