Do Brokers Have a Right to Attorneys’ Fees if Required to Sue for Brokerage Commission?
Florida law, like most jurisdictions, provides that a prevailing party in a lawsuit is not automatically entitled to recover attorneys’ fees. The two most common grounds for a claim to attorneys’ fees are (1) through a written contract that provides for attorneys’ fees or (2) by a statutory authority.
To avoid losing money when trying to recover a brokerage commission, it is in a broker’s best interest to ensure that his or her listing agreement provides for attorneys’ fees. Accordingly, we cannot stress enough how important it is to know and understand the terms of your listing agreement. Please note that Florida courts have held that if a listing agreement provides for an award of a prevailing party’s attorneys’ fees to only one party, any prevailing party will be entitled to recover his or her attorneys’ fees.
A Florida court will only award “reasonable fees.” Reasonable fees are calculated based on a reasonable hourly rate multiplied by a reasonable number of hours spent on the case. The court will use its knowledge and affidavits from attorneys in the appropriate area of law to decide what fees should be considered reasonable.
A judgment for attorneys’ fees is only as good as your ability to collect money from your opponent. Therefore, it’s advised that you know your opposing party’s financial position before deciding to sue to collect your brokerage commission.
If you have any concerns as to whether your listing agreement provides for recovery of attorneys’ fees or questions regarding any other terms of your listing agreement, please do not hesitate to contact us. Moorhead Real Estate Law Group has experienced real estate attorneys who will be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.