Interested in a brokerage career or wonder what it takes to operate as such in Florida? Below is a brief overview of the most important legal requirements that Florida real estate brokers must follow.

Brokerage Membership

In Florida, brokers and sales associates can own a brokerage but cannot register as the organization’s director, officer, or general partner. However, if acting as an associate within the brokerage, they must be registered under one of these mentioned titles. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of brokers in a Florida brokerage. 

Licensing

If you have a referral-only company, you must register it with The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation requires the registration of brokers operating a referral-only business. Organizations that earn income by referring real estate business are viewed as conducting real estate activity. 

Another licensing requirement involves brokers who are members of multiple brokerages. This means obtaining several licenses so that you are licensed to conduct real estate transactions for each organization. Also, to hold multiple memberships, you will require individual licensing for each. It isn’t necessary to have an ownership stake in additional companies, but you still must submit registration as a director or officer of the brokerage.

The Office Location

State law also demands that brokers have a physical office. This can be as simple as a home office, but it must comply with local zoning laws and be approved by any associations governing your neighborhood (HOA). It’s also required to register this location under your brokerage’s name. 

Record-keeping Rules

Florida allows real estate brokers to maintain their records electronically or on paper in or outside their office. The only stipulation is that should the DBPR request to review these documents that the broker makes them readily available. 

The records that real estate brokers maintain include:

  • Leases
  • Listing agreements
  • Sales contracts
  • Emails
  • Other messaging communications

The purpose of this is to show how a transaction took place, including actions taken by the broker.

Responsibilities Regarding Associates

Brokers operating in Florida are legally responsible for the actions of their associates. This includes failures to manage, direct, or control their team. In addition, state law prohibits a broker’s associates from collecting escrow and other monies related to a real estate transaction. The only exception is if acting on behalf of their employer and have express permission to do so. 

Another responsibility Florida brokers have regarding their associates is if one commits a felony. The Florida Real Estate Commission doesn’t require brokers to terminate the employment of a convicted associate. However, this incident must be reported to this commission in writing within 30 days. This includes no contest please, pleading guilty, or being found so by a jury or judge. 

Florida Signage Regulations for Solo Brokers and Firms

An interesting requirement that brokers and brokerages must comply with in Florida involves signage. State Statute demands that individual brokers have a sign above their office(s) entrance, which are easily seen and read by anyone entering. 

Specifically, solo brokers must have their name and any trade name used on this sign. Brokerages should list the name of the firm and the name of one broker, at a minimum. All broker signage must include the phrase “licensed real estate broker” as well. 

Dealing with Out-of-State Real Estate Agents

It’s not uncommon for a Florida real estate broker to work with agents out of state to help clients find the perfect vacation property. For example, if you live in Kentucky and want to buy a beachside condo in Tampa, your local agent would collaborate with a brokerage located in Florida.

These agents would share the income earned from your transaction so long as the out-of-state broker is licensed where they operate. They must also comply with Florida law by not conducting real estate business in the Sunshine State in person, which is the agent’s job located in Tampa.

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