DRE Regulations

Real estate license revoked for failure to protect the health and safety of tenants

A real estate broker who owned and managed apartment complexes for profit failed to maintain his property and was convicted of multiple criminal violations of the county fire code. The broker had a prior history of discipline regarding building code violations. The Department of Real Estate (DRE) revoked his real estate broker license for profiting from unlawful activity relating to the duties of a real estate broker who managed property. The broker sought the reinstatement of his broker’s license, claiming there was no relationship between his crimes and his performance as a real estate broker since his convictions did not involve dishonesty or impair his ability to honestly serve his real estate clients.  The Real Estate Commissioner claimed the broker’s crimes were related to his performance as a broker since the broker profited from unlawful activity arising out of his management of real estate, a dishonest activity.  A California appeals court held the revocation of the broker’s license was valid since the broker profited from criminal activity involving the management of real estate, thus creating a relationship between his crime and his ability to perform the duties of a real estate broker. [Robbins v. Davi (June 23, 2009) __CA4th___]

Editors Note – A broker or agent benefitting from unlawful conduct includes the inducement of a seller and buyer to transfer property subject to a due-on loan with the intent to deprive the lender of its interest differential between the note rate and (higher) current rate at the time of closing. Not a problem in 2009, but watch for it when mortgage rates rise to another 7% or more, as could happen by 2012.


Easement over land does not interfere with owner’s ability to subdivide

An owner’s parcel contained a road providing the only access to a neighboring property, with relocation of the road across the property impossible due to terrain. The owner sought to stop his neighbor’s use of the road and demolish it in order to develop the parcel, even though his development plans were not impeded by the existence of the road. The neighbor sought to establish the road as an easement over the owner’s parcel for access to his property, claiming his property would suffer a catastrophic loss of value if the road was demolished since there was no other means of accessing his property. The owner claimed an easement to the road would create an undue hardship for the owner since the road prevented him from developing his land as he wished. A California appeals court granted the neighbor an easement for the road, called an equitable easement, since the burden of the easement on the owner would not prevent the development of the owner’s property and denying the easement would impose a far greater loss on the neighbor by stripping the neighbor of access to his property and destroying his property’s value.  [Linthicum v. Butterfield (April 2, 2009) __CA4th___]