Broker / Agent Liability
I represent both Real Estate Agents and Brokers in defense of law suits filed by their former clients. Conversely, I also represent former clients in their claims against their former Real Estate Agents and Brokers. The leading reason for client disputes with their Real Estate Agent and Broker is client surprise. When clients are led to believe things are going to work out one way and they end up working out another way the clients experience surprise. If that surprise is to their detriment then the clients become angry and become inclined to talk to a Lawyer about the prospect of suing their former Real Estate Agent or Broker.
Part of my practice involves assisting Real Estate Agents and Brokers in avoiding client surprise. Another component of my practice involves representing those clients who are determinately surprised in their claims against Real Estate Agents and Brokers.
Real Estate Agent Broker Representation
The leading reason that Real Estate Agents and Brokers are sued by their clients is “surprise”. Part of my practice involves assisting Real Estate Agents and Brokers in the development and implementation of policies, procedures and processes designed to help the agent / broker avoid client surprise. Another component of my practice involves representing Real Estate Agents and Brokers in defense of lawsuit brought against them by former clients after the surprise has already occurred.
At the present I am seeing a lot of former homeowners upset with their real estate agents / brokers because of representations made to them by their agent / broker about the benefits of a short sale. Clients are led to believe that a short sale will allow them to walk away from any obligation to pay on any of the loans encumbering their home and they will be able to save their credit. Some time thereafter one or more of the clients’ home lenders contact the clients and make demand for payment on the remaining balance on a loan (or worst yet, the former lender sues the client for the unpaid balance on a loan).
Another reason real estate agents / brokers get sued by their former clients has to do with a failure to disclose. A real estate agent / broker has a duty to disclose certain facts and information to both their clients and the opposite party in a real estate transaction.
Many plaintiffs’ attorneys implement a “shot gun” approach to their lawsuits. That is, they sue everyone involved in the transaction. They sue the agent, the agent’s broker, the title company and possibly others. Issues of indemnification frequently arise between the agent and broker in such cases. Brokers have been known to turn on their agents and sue their agents in a cross complaint seeking indemnification and asking that they be held harmless by the agent for any harm sustained by the former client as a result of the malfeasance of the agent. These cases can quickly get out of hand. If these cases are allowed to linger along too long then they can become incredibly expense for the agents and brokers.
Prosecuting Claims against Real Estate Agents or Brokers
Most real estate agents and brokers are honest law biding people that strive to do a good job for their clients. But just like with any profession there are some bad apples in the bunch. Some of these bad apples will say just about anything to close a transaction in order to earn their commission. These bad apples frequently have no concept of what it means to be a fiduciary. Nor are they aware of the disclosures they are required to make to their clients.
Have promises been made to you by your realtor that have not come true? Have you suffered harm? Maybe you have a case. If you have received an unexpected result emanating from your real estate sale or finance transaction and you have suffered harm you may have a claim against your Real Estate Agent or Broker.
As with all claims there are time limits for former clients of a real estate professional to assert their claim. These time limits could be as short as a year or more. If you feel you have been wronged by your former agent or broker then give me a call. I am interested in hearing about it.