Can a Felon Be a Real Estate Agent in Florida?

background check form – can a felon be a real estate agent in florida

Do you have dreams of becoming a real estate agent in Florida but are worried that your legal background will keep you from getting licensed? You may wonder, “Can I get a real estate license with a criminal record?” We’ll discuss getting your Florida real estate license with a criminal record, felony, or misdemeanor.

Key Takeaways

  • Florida real estate applicants must submit fingerprints through a Livescan Service Provider for a background check conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the FBI. The results are reviewed to determine if the applicant’s criminal history disqualifies them.
  • The Florida Real Estate Commission may disqualify applicants with certain criminal charges, particularly those involving dishonesty. However, evidence of good conduct over time can influence the decision. Felony applicants must provide detailed explanations and may need to appear before the board.
  • Applicants must be truthful about their criminal history on their application. Providing detailed information, gathering relevant documentation, and obtaining character references can increase the chances of being granted a license despite a criminal record.


Brief Overview of Real Estate Licensing Requirements in Florida

Before we answer the question, “Can a felon be a real estate agent in Florida?” let’s give a brief overview of how to get your real estate license so that you understand how your legal history comes into play.

Real estate agents in Florida must be at least 18 years old, have a U.S. Social Security number, and have a high school diploma (or its equivalent). In addition, to become licensed, you must be honest, truthful, trustworthy, of good character, and have a good reputation for fair dealing. If you can meet these basic requirements, then complete the following steps to earn your license:

  • Show proof of course completion of your 63-hour pre-license course
  • Pass the Florida real estate salesperson exam administrated by Pearson Vue
  • Complete the application and pay the required application fee
  • Submit your fingerprints using a Livescan Service Provider for a background check

Florida-Specific Laws and Regulations Regarding Your Background Check

Before submitting your fingerprints, read the Fingerprint Privacy Act Statement, which explains the purpose of submitting fingerprints and your rights to review the record if you believe that criminal history records are incomplete or inaccurate.

Then, immediately after submitting your salesperson application, go to a Livescan Service Provider registered with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

You’ll be required to submit the Applicant Consent and Waiver Agreement for Criminal History Records Check and two forms of identification. One of the IDs must bear your picture and signature, such as a driver’s license, state identification card, or passport.

Please ensure that the Originating Agency Identification (ORI) number is provided to the Livescan Service Provider when you submit your fingerprints. The ORI number for real estate salespeople and brokers is FL920010Z.

The Livescan Provider will transmit your scanned fingerprint images to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The FDLE and FBI will then process the fingerprints and deliver the results to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation within three to five business days from the scan date.

If you have a criminal history, the department will review your application to determine if your record disqualifies you from becoming a real estate professional. Depending on the nature of the offenses, your application might need a board review or your appearance before the board. You will be notified in writing if an appearance is required.

Can you get a real estate license with a felony?

The Florida Real Estate Commission has the authority to disqualify applicants with a history of certain criminal charges or professional misconduct, particularly those involving dishonesty or actions that would jeopardize public trust. However, the commission can also consider the passage of time and evidence of good conduct when deciding whether to grant a license.

Certain criminal charges or conduct may prevent an individual from earning a real estate license. Here are the key points relevant to criminal charges or misconduct:

Honesty and Good Character: An applicant must be honest, truthful, trustworthy, and of good character. If an applicant has a history that contradicts these qualities, it could disqualify them.

Revocation or Suspension of Licenses: If the applicant’s license to practice any regulated profession has been revoked or suspended in Florida or any other state due to conduct that would warrant a similar outcome under Florida law, they would be deemed not qualified unless they can prove subsequent good conduct and reputation over time.

Acting as a Broker or Sales Associate without a License: If an applicant has acted as a real estate broker or sales associate violating Florida law within one year before their application, their application may be disapproved.

People with felony criminal convictions may be able to get a real estate license in Florida. If you have a felony, you may be required to submit a detailed written explanation of the criminal offense with the official legal documents. You may also be required to present yourself to the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board for review.

Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor?

Yes, you may be able to earn your real estate license with a misdemeanor. However, each applicant is judged on a case-by-case basis.
For more information regarding criminal history and real estate licensure, refer to the following Florida statutes:

Chapter 475.17, Florida Statutes
Chapter 472.175, Florida Statutes

Importance of Honesty and Transparency in the Application Process

The Florida real estate salesperson application includes an entire section of background questions. Applicants must sign the document containing a reminder that falsifying information could result in a criminal penalty. Lying about your criminal background on your application is not a good idea.

Guidelines for Disclosing Criminal Records on License Applications

By approaching the application process with transparency, thorough documentation, and a focus on rehabilitation and positive change, you can increase your chances of being granted a real estate license in Florida despite having a criminal record.

Here are some guidelines for disclosing criminal records on your Florida real estate salesperson application.

Be truthful on your application

On your application, be completely honest about your criminal record. Failure to disclose any criminal history can lead to automatic disqualification.
Provide detailed information about your charges, including dates, the nature of the offense, and the outcome.

Gather documentation and character references

Collect all relevant documents, such as court records, sentencing documents, and proof of completed rehabilitation programs.
Consider obtaining character references from employers, community leaders, or others who can attest to your good character and rehabilitation efforts.

Prepare an explanation

You may be required to explain your legal past. Write a detailed personal statement explaining the circumstances of your criminal record, demonstrating remorse, and outlining steps you’ve taken to rehabilitate yourself. Show that sufficient time has passed since your offense and that you have maintained a clean record.

Highlight positive changes in your life since the offense, such as stable employment, community service, or further education. Consider consulting with an attorney specializing in real estate law or criminal defense to help you prepare your application.

Complete the pre-licensing courses

Complete all required pre-licensing education and exams. Demonstrating your commitment to the profession through education can be a positive factor.
Gold Coast Schools is the best source for pre-license courses in Florida. In fact, we have been educating Florida’s real estate agents and brokers since 1970. We offer in-person, livestream, and at-your-own-pace pre-licensing courses, top-notch exam prep materials, and helpful continuing education courses. We’ll be with you throughout your licensing process and your career.

Do you have questions about real estate licensing in Florida? Contact one of our advisors today.