Don’t Risk your License. Play it safe.
The Ohio Division of Real Estate is responsible for the licensing and oversight of Ohio real estate salespersons, brokers, and brokerages. Failing to comply with the Division’s rules and Ohio Law can cause serious consequences. Just one legal misstep may cause your license to be suspended. Keep your company in the clear with an attorney that knows the particularities of the real estate industry.
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Ohio Real Estate Brokerage and Agency Law
Ohio Division of Real Estate
The Ohio Division of Real Estate is part of the Ohio Department of Commerce and is responsible for licensing Ohio’s real estate brokers and salespersons, as well as the oversight for the establishment and compliance of real estate brokerages. The Division of Real Estate includes a 5-member Real Estate Commission who meet once per month and set licensing requirements, make rules, and handle complaints against licensees and licensed companies. The Real Estate Commission has the power to suspend or revoke licenses, as such any inquiry must be carefully handled to protect a real estate professionals license.
The Ohio Division of Real Estate regularly conducts compliance audits of real estate brokerages to ensure their compliance with the Ohio Revised Code and the rules adopted by the Ohio Real Estate Commission. The Division may perform compliance audits due to an increase in complaints or upon request from the Superintendent. Potential disciplinary actions for violations include finds, public reprimand, suspensions, and license revocation.
Typical violations for agents, brokers, and brokerages include failure to make agency disclosure, failure to provide fair housing information, improper advertising materials or methods, insufficient mandatory forms and agreements, and failure to maintain company policies on brokerage and agency. Review of internal real estate broker practices and procedures is critical to help protect against these common violations that can lead to serious consequences. Contact Mike Neiman today should you have any questions or concerns regarding your company’s operations, practices, or procedures that may give rise to a claim.
Ohio real estate agents, brokers, and brokerages are subject to many technical rules, requirements, and laws. These complexities make it essential to have an experienced attorney on your team when handling real estate matters. Mike Neiman has a wide range of experience assistant real estate brokers and agents in brokerage formation, agency violations and disputes, and compliance matters with the Ohio Division of Real Estate.
Ohio Brokerage Formation
The formation of an Ohio real estate brokerage is a lengthy process which requires much interaction with the Ohio Division of Real Estate. The process begins with an initial registration of a name which is followed by the submission of a formal application with supporting documentation including affidavits, bank letters, and pertinent company information. Additionally, a licensee transfer application must be submitted to ensure that all real estate agents and brokers are properly licensed with the new entity. If the Principal Broker serving the new entity is also serving as a Principal Broker at another brokerage, an additional application must be submitted, and certain advertising requirements must be met between the two brokerages.
The complexity of the brokerage formation process can turn this into a timely task spanning months. Having an experienced real estate brokerage to consult with can help alleviate many of the questions that come up throughout the process and can assist in expediting communications with the Ohio Division of Real Estate. Contact Neiman Law LLC should you have any questions on how they can assist with the formation of your brokerage.
Brokerage Document Preparation and Review
A common issue among real estate brokers arises from disagreements in the interpretation of the real estate brokerage documents a company utilizes. A few standard agreements include exclusive right to sell or lease agreements, commercial lease agreements, property management agreements, and principal broker agreements. Given these risks, it is important to have an experienced real estate brokerage attorney assisting the preparation and review to limit a brokerage’s exposure to similar disputes. Mike Neiman has experience drafting these agreements which allow him to be uniquely positioned to provide valuable insight to limit your brokerage’s exposure to similar disputes.
Ohio real estate brokerages are also required by law to draft company specific brokerage policies and a company policy on agency. Under Ohio law, these mandatory company policies are required to contain 11 different pieces of information and must be provided to the brokerage team and to clients upon request. Failure to have these policies properly drafted can result in complaints from clients and ultimately lead to investigations by the Division of Real Estate.
Broker's Lien Litigation
Real estate brokers’ roles in transactions are usually clearly defined in some form of agreement that details the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. However, disputes over the interpretation of these documents commonly occur between the parties leading to legal battles over fees that have been earned, or that have been alleged to have been earned.
For commercial real estate professionals, understanding your broker’s lien rights can make the difference of collecting on a contract for which you have performed on. Once an owner has failed to perform under a brokerage contract, strict technical requirements must be met which require immediate attention. If the situation is not addressed quickly and with accuracy, a real estate broker’s rights to put a lien on the commission alleged to have been earned may be lost.
To properly perfect such an interest, an Affidavit must be timely recorded and must include the name of the broker who has the lien and the broker’s license number, the name of the owner of the lien property, a legal description of the property, the amount for which the lien is claimed, and the date and a summary of the written contract on which the lien is based. It is of the utmost importance that an affidavit is properly drafted and recorded or else the affidavit will be subject to weaknesses upon enforcement.
A broker has 2 years from the recording of a broker’s lien affidavit to file a complaint in the common pleas court in the county where the property is located. Failure to initiate an action timely will result in the broker’s lien becoming extinguished. Additionally, after an affidavit has been filed, the owner of the property may submit a written demand that the broker proceed with commencing action within 30 days, after which point the lien will extinguish if the broker fails to do so. Ohio law provides for the Court to award attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in enforcing or defending the broker’s lien, and Courts may hold a broker liable to the owner for damages for improperly filing a lien.
Ohio real estate brokers who are faced with a potential broker’s lien situation should consult with an Ohio real estate broker attorney to discuss the likelihood of success and the critical timelines that much watched. Contact Mike Neiman today should you have any questions that require immediate attention.