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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

DACO-Justice Dept. pact proposed to investigate complaints of unlawful real estate practices

Rep. José Pérez Cordero

By The Star Staff

At-large Rep. José “Che” Pérez Cordero has proposed establishing a collaborative agreement between the Department of Justice and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) to work on complaints associated with violations of Law 10-1994 (Law to Regulate the Real Estate Business and the Profession of Real Estate Broker, Seller or Company in Puerto Rico), including the illegal practice of continuing to advertise and market properties for sale or rent even though they are no longer available.

“In the past few months, we have received multiple allegations of actions committed by some real estate brokers, whose conduct tarnishes the image of the vast majority of these professionals,” Pérez Cordero said. “From the illegal practice of continuing to advertise and market properties for sale or rent despite the fact that they are no longer available to discriminating against people who have financial assistance from the government to buy their residence, that has been the denunciation and we are going to do something.”

“After a meeting with DACO Secretary Lisoannette González and officials from the Department of Housing, we agreed to create a collaborative agreement between DACO and [the] Justice [Department] to assign a special prosecutor to evaluate the complaints that the department receives about the practices of a small group of real estate brokers,” the New Progressive Party legislator added. “This prosecutor will have the power to evaluate each case and refer it for the possible filing of criminal charges, if necessary.”

Pérez Cordero’s statements come after meeting extensively with the head of DACO and officials from the Housing Department, where it was revealed that about 10% of all complaints received by DACO are associated with violations of Law 10-1994.

“I call on any consumer who feels that a real estate broker has broken the law or committed discriminatory actions, to go to DACO to file a complaint,” Pérez Cordero said. “You can reach out to the agency through their social media platforms, DACO a tu Favor, on both Facebook and Instagram. The important thing is to protect the rights of consumers.”

On March 28, Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez stated that no person can be discriminated against by a realtor if they use government assistance in the form of purchase vouchers as part of their resources to acquire a residence. Engaging in the practice of placing ads for the sale of properties, both on Facebook Marketplace, as well as on Clasificados Online and other similar websites saying that government vouchers are not accepted for the purchase of a house is illegal, he stressed.

Several years ago, the practice of continuing to market properties already sold or rented on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and Clasificados Online, to name a few, became almost the norm, to the detriment of consumers in Puerto Rico. Law 125-2019, which was enacted during the previous four-year governmental term, prohibits the practice.

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