What is an apparent agent?
An apparent agent is a concept of the law of agency and sometimes is referred to as the concept of apparent authority. This differs from the concept of actual authority, which is when a principal has given another person or entity actual authorization to enter into a contract on behalf of the principal.
The concept of apparent agency is a bit different that in limited circumstances, an agent can contractually bind the principal even when actual authorization has not been given.
Under Florida law, a party alleging apparent authority or agency must establish the existence of three facts in order to establish apparent authority to enter into a contract:
- (1) a direct or implied representation of agency by the alleged principal;
- (2) reliance on that representation by the party alleging agency; and
- (3) detrimental reliance on the representation by the party alleging agency.
Apparent authority typically refers to a situation where a reasonable person would understand that an agent had authority to act. The critical element above is that the principal, not the agent, must have made representations to the relying party in order for an apparent agency to be created that binds the principal.
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