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                            A Summary of
     Florida Real Estate Broker Lien Statutes

Sales Commission Liens

A statutory lien for a sales commission is only available for
commissions earned on the sale of
commercial real estate.  To
recover a commission for the sale of residential real estate, the
real estate broker must still secure, in some manner, the right to
levy the lien such as by filing a civil action against the owner of
the real estate, obtaining a judgment for the commission, and
securing a judgment lien.  

To levy a lien based directly upon the obligation to pay a
commission for the sale of commercial real estate, the licensed
real estate broker must have a written brokerage agreement.  
The sales commission lien attaches to the proceeds from the
sale of the commercial real estate, not the real estate itself,
therefore the brokerage agreement must be with the owner who
is selling the real estate in order for their sales proceeds to be
attached.

The owner of the commercial real estate must be provided with
a written
disclosure that discloses the broker’s right to levy the
sales commission lien.  This disclosure can take the form of
statutorily suggested language, though this exact form is not
necessary.  The disclosure must be provided to the owner of
the commercial real estate before the execution of the
brokerage agreement or at the same time as the execution of
the brokerage agreement.  The disclosure can, in fact, be part
of the brokerage agreement.

While a commercial sales commission is
payable at the time
provided for in the brokerage agreement; for the purposes of
the Florida Statutes and the sales commission lien, the sales
commission is
earned the earlier of the occurrence of the event
described in the brokerage agreement which obligates the
owner of the real estate to pay the commission
or the owner of
the real estate enters into a contract for the disposition of the
property identified in the brokerage agreement.  

The commercial sales commission lien can only be waived by
the real estate broker identified in the brokerage agreement,
who is benefited by the lien, and only after the lien has been
earned.  

And once
earned, the real estate broker must provide a written
notice of the sales commission lien to both the owner identified
in the brokerage agreement who is obligated to pay the
commission and to the closing agent, if the closing agent has
been identified and is known by the real estate broker.  This
written notice must be provided to the owner of the real estate
and the closing agent before the earlier of thirty days after the
commission is
earned or one day before the closing.

The written notice of the sales commission lien must include the
name of the owner, the legal description of the property being
conveyed, the name and contact information for the broker, the
effective date of the brokerage agreement, the amount of the
sales commission, and certain required statutory statements
including the disclosure that if the owner wishes to dispute the
commission described in the written notice then they must do so
no later than five days after the closing.

After the written notice of the sales commission lien has been
delivered to the owner and the closing agent, it may be
recorded in the Public Records.  Delivering the written notice of
the sales commission lien to the owner of the real estate and
the closing agent provides direct notice to them but recording
the written notice in the Public Records for at least sixty days
prior to the closing both creates the presumption of public
notice and constructive notice to all parties and perfects the
sales commission lien in regards to other liens which may be
made of record later.

Once the closing agent receives notice of the sales commission
lien, either direct notice by receipt of the written notice of the
sales commission lien or constructive notice by the recording of
the written notice in the Public Records for at least sixty days
prior to closing, the closing agent must reserve from the owner’
s sales proceeds funds sufficient to pay the sales commission
described in the written notice.  The closing agent is also
required to reserve from the owner’s sales proceeds, such
funds as are necessary to satisfy any liens that are superior to
the real estate broker’s sales commission lien therefore the
broker is assured that there are no liens which can supersede
their’s and deprive the broker of the commission.

The owner of the commercial real estate who is selling the
property and who is responsible for the payment of the sales
commission out of their sales proceeds is deemed to have
confirmed the commission if all of the following are satisfied: five
days after the closing have passed and the owner has not
disputed the sales commission, and the closing agent received
reasonable evidence that the broker delivered the written notice
of the sales commission lien to the owner.  Once the owner who
was selling the property has
confirmed the commission then the
closing agent disburses the commission to the broker and the
broker must, within seven days of the payment of the
commission, record in the Public Records a release of the sales
commission lien.

If the owner who is identified in the written notice disputes the
claim for the commission and such owner and the real estate
broker are unable to reach an agreement as to the disposition
of the commission within five days after the closing, then the
closing agent can commence an interpleaded action whereby
the court determines which party should receive the funds.


                                                   
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                                                                     Real Estate Broker Lien Statutes
Law Office of
Craig W. Little, P.A.