Worth it or wasted - preventing unlicensed real estate activity - FOX 13 News

Worth it or wasted - preventing unlicensed real estate activity

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A good realtor can help you find a good deal on a house in the Bay area.

Or you can also buy and sell on your own, which is perfectly legal.

So why did lawmakers approve a half-million dollars in the last budget to be spent on cracking down on unlicensed real estate activity?

That's the subject of tonight's worth it or wasted..

The question is, who benefits from this?

Clearly, those who buy and sell real estate do.

It protects those professionals who took classes, fulfilled all the state requirements, and pay each year to be licensed.

But does it benefit the public?

A half million of your tax dollars, which can be spent to prevent, combat and educate people on the dangers of unlicensed real estate activity in Florida -- a public relations campaign is the way some describe it.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation -- which got the money -- says there were hundreds of cases investigated, and people did lose money as a result of unlicensed activity. But we don't know how much; FOX 13 was not provided with those figures.

Anybody can sell real estate, but only licensed professionals can collect commissions.

What do you think? A half million dollars for a media and advertising campaign to prevent unlicensed real estate activity -- is that money worth it or wasted?

Thanks for your vote! 80 percent said "wasted." 20 percent said "worth it."

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Statement from DBPR Communications Director Samantha Stratton to Doug Smith:

Unlicensed activity affects the livelihood of state-licensed professionals who work hard to obtain the trust of the consumers here in Florida. In addition, the victims of unlicensed activity are often unable to gain back the financial and personal loss that is taken from them.

Therefore, the Department stresses the importance of educating the public, especially targeted groups, about the dangers of unlicensed activity and reminding consumers to hire only licensed professionals.

The $500,000 you referenced is the Division of Real Estates portion of the appropriation for FY 2013-14 as approved by the Florida legislature, but it does not necessarily mean the Division of Real Estate would spend that much during the fiscal year.

More importantly, the totality of those funds is provided by a $5 fee allocated to the ULA budget from each new and renewed real estate license. In other words, licensed realtors in the state of Florida are providing the budget to both prevent and investigate illegal unlicensed activity.

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