The California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) launched its new Enforcement Online Complaint System (EOCS) last week.

The system allows any aggrieved party– licensees, principals, and the public alike – to file a formal complaint against an agent or broker and digitally submit all supporting documentation in one fell swoop.

Up to this point, filing a complaint involved:

  • completing a printed complaint form;
  • manually writing a statement;
  • attaching photocopies of related documents, such as listing agreements and cancelled checks; and
  • mailing or hand-delivering the complaint package to a BRE field office.

This process can now be easily completed online on the BRE’s website.

After the complaint is submitted digitally, it is reviewed and, if necessary, assigned to a BRE investigator. If it is determined a violation occurred, the BRE conducts a hearing and disciplines the offending licensee, generally with a suspension or revocation of their license.

first tuesday insight

EOCS makes it much easier for anyone—licensees, principals, third parties—to lodge a complaint with the BRE against an agent.

Ease-of-use is crucial to encouraging individuals to report “lesser” violations that have previously been tolerated. An agent’s failure to present an offer just because it’s not on the “standard” trade association-issued form, for example, is a serious offense that is often suffered in silence.

Related Article:

Brokerage reminder: keeping offers secret is a BRE violation

To be sure, removing barriers and reducing the complexity of the complaint system is a vast improvement, and may translate to more filings. But it will take more than an easier filing process to correct misconceptions and misbehavior among real estate licensees.

That requires swift, consistent, and highly visible corrective action against misbehaving agents. Short of that, the EOCS is just a tentative step in the right direction.

Editor’s note – Notwithstanding the EOCS launch, the BRE’s approach to other technology enhancements has been halting. Long-sought improvements like the automatic reporting of continuing education (CE) credit, for example, are still kicked indefinitely down the road. We’ll brief you on that in a forthcoming article.

Tell us your thoughts

Have you ever filed a complaint with the BRE? What was your experience with the investigation and any subsequent actions taken? Let us know in the comments below!

Re: California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Real Estate Enforcement Online Complaint System