Standard of Care: Real Estate Brokers and Agents and the Consumer Fraud Act, Do I need a consumer lawyer or consumer attorney?
Consumer attorney or consumer lawyer for a real estate agent or real estate broker and violations of New Jersey Consumer Lawyers. Claims against a real estate broker were claims against the real estate agent you should have a consumer attorney to litigate these claims under the New Jersey consumer fraud act were under any applicable standards required in New Jersey that the real estate agent or the real estate broker is required to comply with at the time of your transaction.
The standard of care is the measuring stick by which realtors are judged by both their peers and the public. There are both industry accepted standards and written rules pertaining to the conduct of realtors. There is a host of administrative rules and regulations pertaining to realtors which apply to advertising, contracts for sale and leases, broker insurance, obligations of licensees to the public and to each other, residential, rental, referral agencies, participation in trade associations, disclosures pertaining to mortgage financing, disclosure of affiliations and consumer information statements.
Probably the most common applicable standard to the average person either buying or selling a house is the obligation of a licensee to the public and to each other. It is clear that a realtor owes certain obligations to their client as well as to the other customer. The agents are required to comply with the state laws and the principles governing fiduciary duties. More importantly, each licensee is required to make reasonable efforts to ascertain all material information pertaining to the physical condition of every property for which they are accepting an agency. The Administrative Code specifically sets forth the definition of a reasonable effort, which includes at least inquiring of the seller or agent about physical conditions and visual inspection of the property if there are any readily observable conditions. The Administrative Code defines material if a reasonable person would attach importance to its existence or non-existence in deciding whether or not in the fashion in which they proceed with the transaction. There are also various provisions with regard to disclosure of off-site conditions.
As previously set forth both a realtor and the broker realtor have an ethical obligation with regard to full disclosure and clarity with regard to the terms and conditions of the transaction. They’ve an ethical obligation to their client. Realtors have an ethical obligation to the other realtor and the adversary. This ethical obligation is not the seller from an ethical obligation of an attorney to his client and the ethical obligation of an attorney to his adversary. While they are not necessarily partners they certainly have an obligation with regard to full and fair disclosure with regard to another realtor.
The issue of dual disclosed agency is foreign to me as an attorney and that how is it possible that a realtor can potentially represent the seller and disclosure fairly. Nonetheless, a power for realtor lobby has managed to make sure that this exists in the realtor and real estate industry. So, if you have a realtor your realtor must divide complete and honest disclosure to the other realtor. The same is true of the other realtor, in so far as the other realtor has an obligation for full disclosure and honesty to your realtor. Full disclosure is required. Material omissions of fact are not permitted or tolerated. Realtors are subject to civil penalties in the context of the consumer fraud claim with regard to material misrepresentations of fact and material omissions of fact.
Contact a New Jersey consumer lawyer for possible claims.
A purchaser must understand that the selling agent is acting in a representative capacity. The purchaser is entitled to rely upon the representations of the seller's real estate agent/broker equally true is and that any statements made by the purchaser’s agent/broker are also binding upon the purchaser. For example, what if the purchaser represents that he is financially solvent to purchase the residence for cash? Is this something upon which the seller of the property relies upon, in making the decision to sell the property to the chosen purchaser? There are limited examples however, a seller is entitled to rely upon the affirmative representations of the purchaser, if they are material to the transaction, in any way. There might be a provision in the contract or an express representation which must be made by the purchaser to qualify to bid on the contract.
This would be an example where the purchaser rather than the seller might be subject to the liability provisions of the Consumer Fraud Act. The Consumer Fraud Act and an experienced Consumer Attorney in New Jersey or an intent and falls New Jersey with use of the express provisions of the Consumer Broad Act to protect either the seller or the purchaser of the subject collateral. This could be a house, condominium, town home or other residence.
The provisions for treble damages and attorney's fees would apply to the seller's realtor or the purchaser's realtor. There is an exception for seller's realtor's/agents with regard to the seller's disclosure statement. However, for violations of the Consumer Fraud Act arguably outside of the seller's disclosure there would be treble damages and attorney's fees and costs.