Can I Get a Florida Real Estate License with a Criminal Background?

Is it possible to get a Florida Real Estate License with a criminal background?

Yes, but it depends on the type of crimes, how recent they occurred, your character references and ultimately the Florida Real Estate Commission's decision. While it is not a simple yes or no answer, more often than not the answer is yes.

How to Apply for a Florida Real Estate License with a Criminal Background?

To become a real estate agent in Florida, you need to get a Florida Sales Associate or Broker license.

  1. Since you may want to ensure your application can be approved prior to enrolling in a class, you should first submit your fingerprints to the real estate license ORI number: FL920010Z through an approved FBI Live scan channeler.
  2. 5 days after fingerprint submission, you should file your application for a sales associate license with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Your application may take up to 90 days to receive a decision.
  3. Once approved, if you have not yet completed your FREC required 63 hour pre-licensing course, you will need to enroll to continue towards starting your real estate career. Your course completion an application approval will be valid for 2 years.
  4. Your final step to get your Florida real estate license is to pass the state exam with at least a 75%. You may take the state exam an unlimited amount of times while your application and course completion are still valid.
  5. Once licensed, you must enroll in a 45 hour post licensing course to satisfy your first renewal requirement and activate with a broker to begin practicing real estate!


Background Check for Florida Real Estate License

The Department will compare your application to the background check results. The background check will include records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) databases.

It’s important to complete your application fully and truthfully. Lying or omitting information on your application can result in denial of a license. You must include all information about the case, including the disposition, penalty, etc.

All of this information will go to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR). Once received, the DBPR staff will begin going over the application and background check results.

In addition to the background check, you must also include details of convictions, pleas or nolo contendere on the application.

It’s important to note that you do not have to include any expunged crimes or minor traffic violations.

In addition to DUI’s, petty theft, and underage drinking, you must also include any other misdemeanor or felony charges. You must also include any criminal background that occurred outside of Florida.

After reviewing the information, the DBPR recommends a decision to the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC).

Who Determines Real Estate License Eligibility in Florida?

The FREC will place your application on the Consent Agenda if there are only a few minor violations. The FREC may also place you on the Consent Agenda if significant time has passed since the violation.

At the next monthly FREC meeting, the members will go over the applications on the Consent Agenda. The FREC will approve your application if they do not have any objections.

Occasionally, a commissioner will want more information on an application. In this case, the commission will schedule a hearing. The FREC may immediately schedule a hearing if your violations are more serious, recent or many.

When you appear before the Florida Real Estate Commission, it is recommended to be accompanied by legal representation. You will have an opportunity at the hearing where your background can be explained in more detail if necessary.

Your attorney will present reasons why you should not be considered a danger to the public and be granted a Florida real estate license.

The commission often approves many of applications at the hearing. However, if the commission determines the offenses are too severe, too many or too recent, they may deny the application.

Submitting Your Florida Real Estate License Application

Unfortunately, there is no way a school, instructor, or even the Department of Business & Professional Regulation can give you a direct answer. However, your approval odds are good if the crime is not recent and is not a crime of moral turpitude.

Only the FREC can decide if you will be eligible for a Florida real estate license with a criminal record. The Florida Real Estate Commission members will make the final approval decision.

Ultimately, the FREC is most concerned with your moral character and whether or not you present a risk to working with the public in a licensed capacity. You must submit your fingerprints and application to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to get a confirmed answer.

Check out this Tampa Bay Times article for more detailed accounts of Florida Real Estate Applicants with a Criminal Background: Felons Can Get a License to Sell

View the Florida Real Estate License Requirements and Steps

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