Real Estate Agent Liability: Unauthorized Practice of Law
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Unauthorized Practice of Law by Real Estate Agents
Only lawyers are authorized to practice law. Lawyers are required to undergo rigorous education and training in law school, pass a comprehensive background check known as a moral character and fitness test, and pass a difficult bar examination that encompasses all areas of state law. When an individual becomes an active and licensed member of a state bar, that individual is qualified to give legal advice to clients. No other individuals, such as paralegals, law students, or even real estate agents, are legally permitted to give legal advice on real estate law.
However, many real estate agents give legal advice to their clients in breach of ethical and legal provisions for the real estate field. Real estate agents are not, under any circumstances, authorized to practice law. This means that real estate agents cannot:
- Explain potential legal outcomes of a dispute
- Evaluate your legal issue and advise you on the best way to proceed
- File a lawsuit for you
- Make arguments in court on your behalf
- Draft legal paperwork
Consequences of the Unauthorized Practice of Law
If the real estate agent engages in any of the aforementioned legal activities, they have practiced law without a license. Real estate agents face a variety of punishments for practicing law without a license, including:
- Losing their realtor licenses
- Losing commissions
- Lawsuits for fraud and forgery
Who Should I Seek Advice from Regarding a Real Estate Issue?
While your real estate agent is able to assist you with a variety of different duties associated with the sale or purchase of a home, you should never solicit legal advice from a real estate agent. The best and only qualified individual to give legal guidance is a real estate lawyer. They are the only type of person who has had years of training and courtroom practice with learning the law for your state, researching complex real estate law issues, providing advice on legal options, investigating claims, negotiating real estate disputes, drafting and arguing motions, and litigating trials.
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Last Modified: 07-23-2015 02:07 PM PDT
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