Professional Liability for Residential Real Estate Agents Part II
Errors & Omissions, or Professional Liability, claims against residential real estate agents and brokers are common. The lawsuit that real estate agents face the most is misrepresentation; however there are many other legal issues they might deal with. Investing in Professional Liability Insurance and familiarizing themselves with these potential complications is a good way for your clients to be prepared, should they face these complications. In Part I, we discussed a few of these problems and what your clients could do to stay informed. These are a few more common causes of lawsuits.
Environmental liability: These lawsuits happen when a broker fails to recommend people with expertise to evaluate hazards such as asbestos, lead-based paint, and groundwater contamination. To limit this type of liability, your clients should know what the common environmental issues and hazards are in their area, and compile a list of local inspectors and resources to give to their customers.
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA): This was designed to inform homebuyers about the costs of closing and to eliminate kickbacks to settlement service providers for referrals. RESPA violations can be avoided if your clients understand the law’s prohibitions and strict compliance if any referrals are made among affiliated service providers.
Unauthorized practice of law: Your clients are not permitted to provide legal advice to their customers, according to the REALTORS Code of Ethics. They should know the parameters of what they may and may not do in their state, and urge clients to hire a lawyer if they have legal questions.
Americans with Disabilities Act: In order to abide by the rules of the ADA, your clients need to make sure that their office, which is a public accommodation, is equipped with ramps, curb breaks, and other considerations to allow a disabled person to access the building.
Legal pitfalls can be a costly disaster for real estate agents & brokers. Therefore, it’s important for these clients to be armed with appropriate Professional Liability coverage. PLRisk Advisors is a leading wholesale insurance brokerage covering the professional liability market. Our team of seasoned professionals has the depth of knowledge to help our agency partners secure the best quality of coverage for their clients. We provide Professional Liability, or E&O, insurance products for a number of professionals, including both commercial real estate agents and residential real estate agents. Please contact us today for more information at (855) 403-5982.