As a real estate lawyer in San Antonio, Texas, my firm proudly counts among our clients residential real estate brokers, farm and ranch real estate brokers, commercial real estate brokers, professional property managers, real estate sales agents and non-licensed individuals working in the real estate trade. Some of the most common areas of our representation of real estate professionals are as follows:
Legitimate disputes sometimes arise over which broker or agent was the “procuring cause” of a given sale or lease of real property. In other instances, unscrupulous clients or other real estate professionals purposely seek to avoid paying an earned commission. Sometimes, an unethical broker will refuse to honor a commission split agreement with his or her sales agent, or a broker seeks to enforce a verbal commission agreement.
No matter the circumstances, we represent brokers and sales agents in prosecuting and defending commission disputes, including
- claims and defenses asserted under Section 1101.806 of the Texas Real Estate License Act (“TRELA”)
- claims for wrongful interference with client or business relationships
- claims for breach of Listing and/or Buyer’s Representation agreements
- disputes over commission splits under Independent Contractor Agreements and “caps” or “spots” arrangements
- disputes over table funding of commissions
We have also asserted brokers’ lien rights on commercial property under Texas Property Code Chapter 62, and vindicated the rights of Texas real estate professionals following improper termination of Listing Agreements and Buyer’s Representation Agreements.
In some instances, we are able to pursue earned but unpaid real estate commissions on a contingency basis.
Defense of TREC Complaints – Professional Discipline
Real estate professionals in the State of Texas hold licenses issued by the Texas Real Estate Commission (“TREC”). TREC licensee conduct is regulated and governed by the TRELA located in Chapter 1101 of the Texas Occupations Code. In addition, the TREC maintains a separate set of Rules (located at Title 22, Part 23 of the Texas Administrative Code) that also regulate the business of Texas real estate professionals.
In my practice as a San Antonio Texas real estate lawyer, I routinely defend real estate brokers and salespersons against TREC Complaints. I have defended dozens of TREC complaints, dealt positively with the staff of the TREC Enforcement Division and – sometimes even in the face of seemingly bad circumstances — obtained favorable results for real estate professionals accused of wrongdoing.
In addition to formulating written responses to TREC complaints, we have presided over TREC Investigations including Investigator interviews of our clients, attended Complainant and witness statements conducted by TREC, and provided representation at hearings before the TREC-contracted Administrative Law Judges in Austin, Texas.
My experience in the TREC Complaint Process allows me to shepherd my clients through the slow and grueling proceedings, and relieve some of the anxiety and fear associated with the unknown.
If you have received notice of a TREC disciplinary complaint or investigation that threatens your professional livelihood, you should contact an experienced real estate lawyer immediately. No matter how serious the allegations, you are entitled to an aggressive defense by an attorney who understands the TREC disciplinary complaint process. Trey Wilson can help.
Professional Negligence/Fraud/Malpractice Defense
Although the TRELA is not the sole source of legal duties and/or potential liability by Texas real estate professionals, it serves as a baseline standard of care for evaluating the conduct of agents with regard to their clients, and the general public. In many instances, allegations that ethical standards have been violated are coupled with claims, demands or lawsuits based on alleged professional negligence, malpractice or intentional bad acts (including fraud ).
We routinely defend real estate professionals in civil lawsuits arising from allegations of professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and malpractice. We also defend claims based upon alleged violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“DTPA”), breach of contract and alleged violations of TREC Rules.
If you are a real estate professional who has received a demand/notice letter or has been served with a civil lawsuit, you should contact an experienced real estate lawyer to formulate and present a strong defense.
Brokerage Breakups – Agent Separation – Termination of Independent Contractor Agreement (“ICA”)
Trey Wilson has intimate familiarity with the Texas Realtors Independent Contractor Agreement for Sales Associates (form TXR-2301) and has also drafted customized ICAs for his real estate broker clients.
Trey regularly handles disputes between brokers and agents following termination of the ICA and broker sponsorship. Most disputes arising from this form of “business divorce” involve competing claims to fees or commissions and disagreements over whether compensation was “earned” before the termination was effective.
Other controversies relate to contact with clients whose relationship with the brokerage originated with the departing agent. In many cases, the departing agent was the the client’s sole connection and point-of-contact with the brokerage, yet the ICA may provide that the client relationship is the “property of” or “owned by” the broker. These can be very sticky situations, where contractual obligations are sometimes seemingly at odds with the best interests of the client.
A well drafted ICA, to include TXR-2301, specifies the obligations and rights of the broker and departing agent concerning fees upon termination, ownership of listings, and when an agent and broker’s fees are earned.
Unfortunately, broker breakups often have a highly emotional side. Trey Wilson understands the sensitivity, stress and emotion associated with termination of agent-broker relationships and ICAs, and is prepared to serve as a claiming and knowledgable force in situations that frequently devolve into chaos.