The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR; Department) is the Florida State agency responsible for licensing and regulating businesses and professionals, including real estate licensees. The DBPR’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly.
The DBPR was created and structured by Florida Statutes and is governed by Chapter 120, F.S. as part of the government’s executive branch. The head of the Department is the Secretary of Business and Professional Regulation, who is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. The Department’s main office is in Tallahassee, Florida.
The Department consists of separate divisions for each of several professions under its administration, including the Division of Real Estate (discussed in an upcoming section). Other divisions relevant to real estate include the following:
- Division of Professions – regulates education courses and license examinations
This division is tasked with providing, contracting, and approving services for all examinations, including development, administration, scoring, reporting, and evaluation.
- Division of Service Operations – processes license applications and related fees, issues licenses and renewal notifications, and responds to licensee and public inquiries
The director of this division is appointed by the Secretary of the DBPR.
- Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes – provides oversight of the Florida residential communities, specifically condominiums, cooperatives, timeshares, and mobile home parks
This division provides education, resolution of complaints, mediation, arbitration, and developer disclosure for Florida residents of these types of dwellings. It also handles homeowner association election disputes and board member recalls.
Board – any board, commission, or other entity created by statute within the DBPR that is authorized to exercise regulatory or rulemaking functions, such as the Florida Real Estate Commission.
Consumer member – a person appointed to serve on a specific board who is not, and never has been, a member or practitioner of the specific profession regulated by the board.
Involuntarily inactive status – the licensure status that results when a license is not renewed at the end of the license period.
Voluntarily inactive status – the licensure status that results when a licensee applies to the DBPR to be placed on inactive status and has paid the related fee.
Profession – any activity, occupation, or vocation that is regulated by the DBPR through the Divisions of Professions or Real Estate.
The legislative intent in establishing the DBPR and related statutes is twofold. First, the legislature wanted to protect the public from unregulated business practices. The legislature also did not want to place unreasonable restrictions on qualified individuals who sought to practice one of the regulated professions.
In striving to balance those two goals, the Florida Legislature and the DBPR have identified three situations that require regulations to be applied (as listed in Chapter 455.201).
- when the profession’s unregulated practice could harm or endanger the health, safety, and welfare of the public, and when the potential for such harm is recognizable and clearly outweighs any anticompetitive impact which may result from regulation
- when the public is not effectively protected by other means, including, but not limited to, other state statutes, local ordinances, or federal legislation
- when less restrictive means of regulation are not available
The legislature’s intent in establishing these regulations prohibited the DBPR from creating unreasonably restrictive standards for professional licensure and prohibited the DBPR or any board or commission from creating an economic condition that would unreasonably restrict competition or job creation or retention.
Department powers and duties
The DBPR’s duties and powers include the following:
- adopt rules for license renewals
- select investigators who meet established criteria
- investigate consumer complaints, including issuing subpoenas
- issue cease and desist orders to individuals practicing without a license
- issue citations to licensees
- under court order, suspend or deny licensure for anyone out of compliance with a support order or other legal order; issue or reinstate licensure when the order has been satisfied
- require all proceedings regarding licensing or discipline to be electronically recorded
- approve licensure applications that meet established requirements
Under the DBPR and with the advice of the FREC, the Division of Professions has the duty to set up services for developing, preparing, administering, scoring and reporting, and evaluating all examinations. The DBPR also works with the Divisions of Professions, Service Operations, and Real Estate to ensure all examinations sufficiently and reliably measure an applicant’s ability to successfully practice the profession for which the applicant is being tested.
The Department also provides the procedures for an applicant to review incorrectly answered questions on a failed exam. The review is completed at the applicant’s expense.