Real estate agents and brokers are often the subject of many types of lawsuits and legal claims. Real estate professionals must abide by various codes of conducts and professional rules.
The top 7 claims against real estate agents include:
- Real estate fraud
- Breach of duties (especially if these are listed in a broker agreement)
- Contract violations
- Negligence (failing to use reasonable care when conducting transactions)
- Damage to property (for instance, during an appraisal or when inspecting a home)
- Misrepresenting property conditions, damage, or value
- Disputes over escrow and down payments
Various other disputes can arise against real estate agents. Some cases may involve more than one type of legal issue.
In many cases, the real estate agent can be held directly liable for violations such as fraud or breach of contract. However, other parties can also be held liable for violations. For instance, real estate agents often work on behalf of a broker or a brokerage company. A broker or the entire company can also be involved if the agent’s supervisor authorized the action, or if the agent specifically acted according to fraudulent instructions.
Also, other parties might be liable if an agency relationship exists. Here, the court would need to prove the existence of such a relationship in order to determine which party should be held liable. Liability can often be split between multiple defendants.
Legal consequences for real estate issues typically involve a monetary damages award. This amount depends on the type of claim involved, as well as the nature of the dispute. For instance, a breach of contract may involve remedies that are specifically listed in the contract. Some cases may involve statutory damage limitations.
Other consequences may include a suspension of agency operating privileges, civil fines, and criminal consequences.
Filing a claim against a real estate agent will require solid proof of misconduct, as well as evidence to support it. You may wish to hire a real estate lawyer if you need to file a legal claim involving real estate laws. Your attorney can inform you of the laws in your state and can also represent you during the process.