Florida Realtors Legal Hotline is a great resource and free member benefit, but you may not need us. Many callers ask basic-information type questions, like, “There are so many riders – which one should I use?” Here are answers to your simplest questions.
ORLANDO, Fla. – This is a general recap of some basic “housekeeping” items that confuse many callers to Florida Realtors Legal Hotline. Florida welcomes roughly 2,000 new licensees each month, and this article should offer clarity for those folks – and a good recap for more seasoned agents.
1. When a member calls Florida Realtors’ Legal Hotline – a free benefit included in your Realtor membership – an attorney will answer the phone, and you’ll be asked to confirm your name and/or license number. Remember, this is a service for members only. We can’t offer buyers or sellers legal advice.
2. Florida Realtors offers three residential sales contracts: two of them are Florida Realtors/Florida Bar (FR/Bar) Contracts, the ASIS FR/Bar and the standard FR/Bar. The main difference between the two FR/Bar versions lies in the inspection and repair section of those contracts, primarily covered in paragraph 12. The Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase (CRSP) is the third residential contract offered by the association.
3. Each of those types of contracts has its own riders/addenda: the CRSP uses the CRSP addenda, and the FR/Bar contracts use the Comprehensive Riders (CR).
The respective addenda and riders should not be used interchangeably between contracts, as many times the content of an addenda/rider refers to specific paragraphs within the CRSP or FR/Bar contract. And, since the contract paragraphs are different, it can cause confusion. Parties should proceed with extreme caution if they choose to use a non-corresponding addenda/rider with a contract.
4. The only Florida Realtors/Florida Bar contracts Florida Realtors offers are the ASIS FR/Bar and the standard FR/Bar.
The Commercial Contract, Vacant Land Contract and Florida Supreme Court-approved leases are not types of FR/Bar contracts.
5. We are Florida Realtors – not the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC). Florida Realtors is a membership association. FREC is an arm of Florida government. There’s no such thing as a “FREC Legal Hotline.”
Florida Realtors is the largest trade association in the state. The organization’s members and management team protect private property rights and keep a close eye on some 3,600 pieces of legislation each year and provide various other services, such as the Tech Helpline, Legal Hotline and even this issue of Florida Realtors Legal News.
FREC is a division of the state and “administers and enforces the real estate license law, Chapter 475, Part I, Florida Statutes.” FREC “is also empowered to pass rules that enable it to implement its statutorily authorized duties and responsibilities.” In other words, FREC is the state licensing enforcement entity for real estate licensees.
6. Local association problems? MLS issues? Florida Realtors Legal Hotline attorneys may say, “I don’t know” after you ask your question.
While Florida Realtors works to support the real estate industry in conjunction with various local associations/MLSs, Florida Realtors is autonomous. It has no authority over the operations of local Realtor associations in Florida or any MLSs. Local boards may come up with their own rules, and those can vary from MLS to MLS.
Additionally, many local associations have their own forms for their members. If you see a form in the platform your office uses, it may not be a Florida Realtors document.
If a caller to Florida Realtors’ Legal Hotline has a concern regarding an ethics hearing, arbitration or particular MLS rule, the attorney may be unable to answer the question. If that happens, they’ll refer the caller back to the local association and MLS.
7. Finally, we’ve mentioned this in many articles, but remember: The contract controls how time is calculated – it’s not based on any law. Be sure to check, then double check, the time section of your contract to clarify how it’s calculated since times can vary by contract.
Meredith Caruso is Associate General Counsel for Florida Realtors
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