In the real estate market, a broker is a person who acts as an intermediary between two or more parties in negotiating a real estate transaction. This is a simple definition and it should be looked upon as such. If the transaction involves real estate property and the person is an “intermediary” among the parties, then he or she must ne a licensed broker under Puerto Rico law.
We have created this category dealing with “unlicensed brokers” in attention to an increasing number of individuals who are acting as “intermediaries” on the Island of Vieques, notwithstanding that they are not in compliance with applicable licensing requirements as “brokers” under Puerto Rico Law. Though our introduction will be brief, we hope that as the discussion evolves we will be able to communicate more details on what we understand is a very important subject.
In Puerto Rico, there is a particular law which regulates the real estate practice as far as real estate brokers are concerned. Before someone can become a “real estate broker” under this law, the person has to attend an intensive preparatory course and submit himself to an examination by a board of realtors. If the person becomes licensed, he or she must subsequently comply with additional licensing requirements and has to attend continuing education in order to secure his/her license for years to come.
Another aspect of becoming and remaining a broker which benefits the parties, is that brokers are subject to regulation by the Department of Consumer Affairs, known by its Spanish acronym of DACO. This administrative agency is very aggressive and protective of consumer rights, which increases the need brokers have of assuring that every real estate transaction is performed in full compliance with applicable law. When the parties to a real estate deal use a broker as defined herein, they are availing themselves with the protection afforded by applicable law.
By the way, using the term “unlicensed broker” in reference to individuals who act as brokers but are not licensed under applicable law, is kind of an oxymoron. If the person is not licensed as a broker, then he/she is not a broker. It is as simple as that. Bear in mind that in this blog we will not dignify someone with the title of “broker” if that someone has not complied with all legal requirements accordingly. For lack of a better term, we are just going to refer to such an individual as an “impostor.”
Unfortunately to many unwary parties, the consequences of dealing with an impostor are not well known and could be very harmful. As noted before, a broker undergoes intensive and extensive preparation prior to becoming licensed, and will subsequently have to continue undergoing training to preserve his/her license. An impostor has not undergone this training and is not subject to regulation by anyone other than himself. When dealing with a broker, the parties avail themselves of this knowledge and experience which is otherwise not available when dealing with an impostor.
Another huge advantage for consumers is that legitimate brokers answer to the client, to the Board of Realtors and to DACO–which means that the client has DACO to help him/her exercise his or her rights accordingly. The Puerto Rico Courts will always have jurisdiction over any matter, but the law which regulates brokers is more beneficial regardless of the forum chosen by the individual who feels prejudiced.
At this point, we open the forum for comments and questions on this subject. As the discussion evolved, we will continue to add more information as needed, but always within the limits of the LEGAL DISCLAIMER presented in the “about” page of this blog.
Very truly yours,
Lampón & Associates