(WSVN) - A realtor was told he has to pay a fee to collect his commission. Is that legal? Let’s find out in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Joe’s house is for sale.

Joe Jennings/Sunny and Associates: “You know, in a beautiful area in Plantation, Florida. It’s a beautiful area.”

Of course, Joe needed a real estate agency to help him..

Patrick Fraser: “Were you able to find a good broker?

Joe Jennings: “We have the best broker, Sunny and Associates.”

Joe smiles because he owns Sunny and Associates.

Joe Jennings: “We’re a concierge real estate company and what that means is we do just about everything.”

Recently, Joe was contacted by a woman moving to Fort Lauderdale who needed a nice apartment to rent. Joe contacted one.

Joe Jennings: “And I asked them, ‘Do you pay commissions?’ and they replied, they do pay commissions. The commission was only $500. It wasn’t a lot, but it was more important than helping this person.”

The woman rented an apartment and Joe contacted the property manager to get his $500 commission.

Joe Jennings: “They wanted to do a background check on me. They also wanted to do a credit check on me as well.”

Joe told them he wasn’t moving in. He was just the realtor and then the manager had a stranger request.

Joe Jennings: “They want me to pay $49 to receive a $500 commission.”

That’s right. They wanted Joe to pay them money to get his money.

Joe Jennings: ” I’ve never heard of anything like this. Not only in this business, but any other business that I’ve been in prior.”

That was eight months ago.

Joe says he has contacted the management company at least 10 times. No luck. Finally, he went up the corporate ladder and got a final answer.

Joe Jennings: “And she says, ‘Kim is aware of you and you’re just going to have to pay the money, and that’s all it’s going to be.'”

It’s not worth it for Joe to hire an attorney to fight paying $49 to get a $500 commission.

But he knows where he can get the answer for free.

Joe Jennings: “So I would like to find out is this legal to do so?”

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “This makes no sense. Why would you do a credit and background check on the realtor after they provided the renter? And to charge $49 to collect the commission is wrong. Simply put, this is basic contract law. They owe Joe $500 and he doesn’t have to pay them money to get that money.”

I emailed Willow Bridge’s Broward office and their corporate office in Texas to ask why they think they can charge a fee for someone to collect a fee.

They didn’t respond to me but we got what we wanted.

Joe Jennings: “They called me, and they told me that they would actually be issuing a check immediately.”

The check cleared.

Joe Jennings: ‘And i really appreciate all the help the Channel Seven did and Patrick Fraser did.”

We helped Joe. He wants his story to help you.

But this needs to be told to other people: You don’t have to pay to get your money.

No you don’t, and sometimes it dawns on me.

You don’t have to have a law degree to know, something is not right. Howard confirms it, but use your common sense. If it’s not written in the contract and you think legally it’s wrong, it might be.

A foul fee left you fuming? Ready to commission someone to help? Let us broker a deal and sell you on a good outcome.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
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