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The Division is charged with ensuring that real estate professionals meet the minimum requirements to become licensed and once they are licensed, enforcing the professional standards of the license law. Consumers may file a complaint with the Division if they feel that an individual is performing real estate duties without a license, or if a licensed individual is not complying with the requirements of the practice act.
Real estate brokers assist consumers with the purchase, sale, lease or exchange of real property. Real estate brokers are required by law to perform multiple duties when representing a consumer. A real estate broker can represent either the buyer/renter or the seller/landlord, or in some instances both sides of the transaction.
Common complaints investigated against real estate brokers include:
The Division does not typically investigate the following complaints due to a lack of jurisdiction:
Real estate appraisers provide an independent and unbiased value opinion of real property which is typically used to make a mortgage lending decision, but may also be used in civil litigation cases.
Common complaints investigated against real estate appraisers include:
Community association managers carry out the day-to-day operations of a Homeowner’s Association (“HOA”) at the direction or on behalf of the HOA’s Executive Board.
Mortgage loan originators are individuals who takes an application for a residential mortgage loan, or offers or negotiates the term of a residential mortgage loan. The Division of Real Estate’s jurisdiction is limited to residential mortgage loans and it does not regulate underwriters, loan servicers, banks or commercial lenders.
Once your complaint is received, Division staff will review the complaint to determine whether we have jurisdiction over the subject of your complaint. If it appears that we do not have jurisdiction over the complaint, we will notify you that the complaint has not been assigned for investigation. If the complaint appears to be lacking information for us to make a determination about jurisdiction, we will allow you to submit additional information to assist us in determining whether the complaint will be assigned for investigation or not. If the complaint is within our jurisdiction, the complaint will be assigned to an investigator for investigation. You will receive notice regarding whether your complaint has been assigned for investigation or not within 12 business days of the complaint having been filed.
Once a complaint is assigned for investigation, the Division will notify the respondent, the licensee against whom the complaint has been filed, that a complaint has been submitted. The respondent is required by regulation to submit a response and supporting documentation to the Division. The investigator will conduct witness interviews and gather any relevant evidence. It is the Division’s goal to complete investigations within 240 days, but some complaints may take longer due to complexity, availability of witnesses and the Division’s workload.
Following the completion of an investigation, if there are no violations of the license law, the complaint will be dismissed with no further action taken. If there appears to be violations of the license law, the findings will be presented to the appropriate regulatory board or commission for a disciplinary determination. The Community Association Manager Program is a Director model, so the Division Director makes the disciplinary determination for that program. If the board or commission order discipline to be imposed, the case will be referred to the Expedited Settlement Program for settlement or the Office of the Attorney General for litigation. The Expedited Settlement Program is located within the Division of Real Estate. The program’s goal is to resolve disciplinary cases within 90 days of the case being referred. If a case cannot be resolved by the Expedited Settlement Program, it will be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for litigation. Cases are litigated in the Office of the Administrative Courts and the hearing process may take over 18 months before a decision is issued by an Administrative Law Judge.
If you are the complainant in a complaint, you may contact the Division at any time to check the status of your complaint. The Division will notify you when your complaint is resolved, whether it is dismissed or results in disciplinary action. In cases where discipline has been imposed, the Division will also provide you with a copy of the disciplinary document. The investigations themselves are closed to public inspection by law. If you filed an anonymous complaint, the Division will not be able to provide you with any information while the complaint is under investigation or if it is ultimately dismissed. Release of this information is prohibited by law.
The complaint process allows for the submission of an anonymous complaint. However, simply sending a letter or email, indicating that you have concerns or suspicions about a transaction but do not want to file a complaint, or would prefer not to file a complaint until after we look into the matter will not result in any action by the Division.
Remember, the only way to determine whether your concerns are potential license law matters is to file a complaint with the Division.