It’s spring, and…what’s that? Is that the intoxicating scent of another DRE Real Estate Bulletin digest wafting your way? Why, yes it is!

New logo

The Department of Real Estate (DRE)’s emancipation from the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is around the corner, and they’ve come up with a more colorful logo design to mark the occasion (and as a general update, we imagine). Can’t wait until July 1 for the unveiling on their website? You can find the new logo in the Spring 2018 DRE Real Estate Bulletin.

Input, input!

DRE Commissioner Wayne Bell wants to improve the DRE, and he’s interested in your feedback on how to do so. Tell the DRE how you feel about the published guidance on their website, send in your questions, provide feedback on the bulletin’s content — let them know what you need them to clarify by emailing the bulletin editor at editor@dre.ca.gov or filling out their online survey at //secure.dre.ca.gov/publicasp/survey.asp.

One of the most recent and well-received guidance memos was on unlicensed assistants. (We often get questions about this, as well.) Here’s a quick digest of what you can/can’t do, with a link straight to the DRE’s memo:

Operating within the law: Unlicensed real estate assistants

Have a topic you’d like written about before the next bulletin comes out? Fill out the article request submission form to the right of this post, and first tuesday’s Editorial Staff will check it out for you!

DRE’s team name enforcement taskforce

Team names: it’s been a hot topic over the last few bulletins. Now the Commissioner is starting an internal task force to discipline licensees who are still improperly using team names.

If you haven’t yet audited the team name practices in your office, it’s time to get on board.

The Consumer Recovery Account

The Consumer Recovery Account is a fund to which members of the public can apply for monetary relief when they are unable to collect a court-ordered judgment. To be considered for recovery, the application needs to include documentation about a licensee’s:

  • intentional fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; or
  • trust fund conversion.

Since its inception, the DRE has received over 5,000 applications to the Consumer Recovery Account and paid over $60 million to members of the public. More about the Consumer Recovery Account’s use, source of funds, and application parameters can be found here:

The Real Estate Recovery Fund: what it is and what it covers

Here are the top 5 questions asked by licensees about the Consumer Recovery Account, and the DRE’s (highly truncated) answers:

  1. Is the Consumer Recovery Account a real estate broker bond or surety bond? No.
  2. The applicant for recovery sent a notice to the address I have on record with the DRE, but that address is outdated. Is service of that notice valid? It may be valid if you are an active licensee, as you are required to keep a current address on file with the DRE.
  3. I am a salesperson. My employing broker failed to pay my commission. Can I qualify for payment from the Consumer Recovery Account? No.
  4. The applicant was awarded a default judgment against me with no finding of intentional fraud. I did not appear in the court action. Can a default judgment qualify for payment from the Consumer Recovery Account? Yes.
  5. DRE paid funds from the Consumer Recovery Account based on a judgment against me and suspended by license. I can’t afford to repay the DRE. Will DRE agree to a payment plan and reinstate my license? No.

Supervising a restricted licensee

So you’re a broker in charge of a licensee with a restricted license! What’s that mean for you?

First of all, be familiar with the circumstances that caused their restriction. This information is public record on the DRE’s license lookup, and should be disclosed up-front when they apply to work for you. The documentation about their disciplinary action also often contains the specific restrictions placed on their license. You’ll be responsible for exercising special care over your review of their conduct as a real estate licensee, according to these restrictions.

Next, make sure expectations and conditions of employment as a restricted licensee are clear and amenable to both parties.

Then, the paperwork. As the broker, you have to fill out either the Prospective Employing Broker Certification (RE 552) form, or the Restricted Salesperson Change Application Form (RE 214A) to notify the DRE of your arrangement with a restricted licensee.

Need more information on restricted licenses? Check out our article about licenses in need of varying stages of redress:

Reinstating your real estate license after disciplinary action

Subdivision sales

Also included in this bulletin is a historical overview of subdivision sales laws in California. It’s one of the lengthier features. If that’s your beat, don’t miss it – give the full article a read.

Cheating on education – don’t do it, or it could mean your license

And finally, because we saved the best for last:

DRE regularly monitors real estate schools for compliance with laws and regulations concerning real estate education. As a course provider, first tuesday regularly submits courses for renewal and review by the DRE to ensure we continue to provide high-quality, compliant materials and services to real estate licensees. We take pride in our role in sustaining an industry so critical to the economic welfare of the state.

However, not all education providers comply with the rules. The most prevalent way schools skirt the regulations is to provide course certificates to licensees without requiring them to actually take the courses. This can land schools — and licensees — in hot water.

Course provider compliance for CalBRE continuing education

Cheating on licensing or continuing education courses is grounds for license denial or disciplinary action from DRE.

Now, we know not everyone loves real estate education as much as we do. We get it. (Sort of — what’s there not to love about the nuances of landlord/tenant law, or a really good case on repugnant restraints on alienation?) But it’s mandatory, so think of it this way: education is an opportunity to learn about a new facet of real estate (shamelessly: we have nine CE packages chock full of facets of real estate) and keep abreast of changes in the law, so you can better serve your clients. Surely that’s worth a few hours a day for a minimum six days?

In short – cheating is not worth your livelihood. If you’re struggling with your coursework with another school, give us a call – our customer service is live, friendly and full of (by-the-book) tips on how to make your renewal process as easy as possible.

And with that, we come to an end. Parting is such sweet sorrow, readers. Find some solace in the gorgeous spring sunshine, and see you in the fall.

Read the full Spring 2018 DRE Bulletin here.