3 Types of Accusations Made Against Real Estate Agents

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: April 9th, 2015 | Categories: Licensure & Disciplinary

With the rise and fall of the real estate market, the collapse of the mortgage world and the economy several years back, real estate agents are more at risk now than ever before for accusations being brought against them. There are many reasons why a complaint may be filed against an Ohio real estate agent. Complaints range from misrepresentation to fraud and everything in between.

1. Accusation Type: Fraud

The most common accusation against real estate agents is fraud. Fraud accusations include an element of intent. This means the plaintiff (person bringing suit) must show that there was an intentional act by the defendant (real estate agent) that caused harm or was designed to cause harm to the plaintiff. The intentional act could be an affirmative statement made by the real estate agent, or it could be purposely withholding information of which the real estate agent had knowledge about. Some examples of fraud include:

  • Known discrepancy in the square footage of the home the real estate agent did not disclose.
  • Well production listed on the MLS was listed higher than the actual known production rate.

2. Accusation Type: Negligence

Negligence means a cause of action failed to result in due care towards others when a reasonable person would do so under the circumstances.  Negligence is different from fraud because there is no element of intent in negligence.

The plaintiff must prove:

  • There was duty to the plaintiff
  • Defendant’s action or inaction breached that duty
  • Defendant’s action or inaction was the cause of plaintiff’s harm
  • The plaintiff suffered discernible injury
  • Defendant failed to disclose the complained defect that should have been known or was known.

Some examples of negligence include:

  • Agent failed to transmit written notice before the deadline to listing agent cancelling the sale agreement.
  • Agent should have known property’s septic system was only approved for two bedrooms and the property was listed as four bedrooms.
  • Agent should have known and disclosed rodent damage to the home to the buyers.

3. Accusation Type: Misrepresentation

This accusation is much more general and can include a laundry list of claims and problems. Plaintiff will allege misrepresentation or nondisclosure of many issues concerning the specific property. Some of the issues may be related, but can also be completely unrelated.

Some examples of Misrepresentation include:

  • Foundation defects
  • Water damage
  • Presence of mold
  • Age of home/property
  • Roof, flooring, or siding condition

Your Rights as a Real Estate Agent

Once an accusation has been brought against you, you must file a written response within the allotted amount of time. Failure to do so could result in a denial of your right to a hearing. A discovery motion should be filed to then determine what evidence the board has against you. An investigation may follow. If evidence is found against you, you can try to negotiate a resolution and avoid a hearing, or you can challenge the accusation at the hearing. This is why it’s so important to have an Ohio attorney that knows the process to help guide you through this challenging and stressful time.

Protect Your License and Career with the Help of a Real Estate License Attorney in Ohio

If your real estate license is in jeopardy due to accusations against you regarding misrepresentation, or inappropriate or negligent actions, then don’t delay in seeking advice on your legal rights. The seasoned professional license defense attorneys at Jones Law Group in Columbus, Ohio can help you defend your license and avoid problems. Call (614) 545-9998 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation and learn how our Columbus real estate license defense attorneys may be able to help you. 

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