With the growing concern of attacks on real estate agents, the need to further protect agents when showing homes has been a growing movement. The state of Florida is currently considering legislation that would put harsher penalties in place for attacks on real estate agents.

The measure, SB 214, would increase the classification of battery, aggravated battery, assault, aggravated assault, and sexual battery against agents and associates while showing property. For example, an occurrence that may be currently classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree may be reclassified as a felony of the third degree.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, told the Palm Beach Post that agents need to be better protected by state laws because the crimes that are committed against them are “premeditated.”

The safety of real estate agents has become increasingly more prevalent, with a 2015 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors finding that 40 percent of its members “experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information.” Of this 40 percent, 2 percent actually reported being robbed and 1 percent claimed to have been assaulted.

Before the bill moves on to the full Senate, the Florida Senate bill must pass two more committees. A related House proposal (HB 47) is currently awaiting full vote in the Florida House of Representatives.

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