Q: My license was inactive as a real estate agent when I signed up with a new broker last year. I had a buyer that wanted to present an offer. Since my license was inactive, my broker said he would handle the transaction until I was active.
My license was reactivated and I had numerous conversations with my broker and he assured me that the transaction would now be placed in my name. When we closed on the home, he refused to pay my commission stating that I did not have an active license during the time the contract was signed. He is not returning my phone calls, email, or written correspondence. Last week he sent a Broker/Sponsor Termination form to the Real Estate Commission.
He never had any interaction at all with my buyer, and lied to me about the whole thing. What recourse do I have?
A: You should contact the Real Estate Commission in the state in which you are located. Frequently, these governmental agencies can advise you of the status of the laws in your state and tell you whether you could have been paid a commission on that transaction.
It would be helpful if you have your broker’s assurances in writing. Otherwise you’re left in a situation in which he will claim he never agreed to pay you a commission and you have to prove that he did.
In most states, commission agreements must be in writing. However, if the broker held your license and there was an understanding (that you can prove) that he needed to pay you the commission, in addition to filing a complaint against the broker, you might have to sue him.
You need to talk to an attorney that can litigate your case. But you first need to find out if you’re even able to receive a commission in your state if you started a transaction without a valid real estate license but had one at the time the deal closed.
If your state laws provide that you must have a license for the entire time of the transaction, you may be out of luck and found yourself the victim of an unscrupulous managing broker. If you have no case in the legal system, you may still be able to file a complaint against the broker with the state agency and with the Board of Realtors in your area.
Oct. 31, 2007.