The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) is the agency that both licenses and regulates real estate agents and brokers. Since the bursting of the real estate bubble, it has been criticized for not investigating and punishing crooked real estate agents as much as it could.
Now the state Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee is taking a closer look at the DRE to see if its enforcement role should be strengthened. This has partly to do with an investigation in November 2010 by the Sacramento Bee in which reporters discovered many “admitted real estate fraudsters” still held licenses in good standing.
According to an article in the Fresno Bee, the Committee is considering the following:
• Clarifying real estate law to show protection of the public is the highest priority.
• Giving the department authority to issue citations and fines.
• Increasing consumer access to disciplinary records and information on licensees.
• Allowing the department to recover costs from licensees proven to have violated the law.
There was also discussion about whether or not the DRE should be able to “suspend licenses on an interim basis after a broker or agent is accused of wrongdoing“. This latter issue concerns me greatly, as we’ve all seen abuses of power by government agencies and/or persons who have an ax to grind. I wouldn’t want to see anybody’s ability to make a living suspended without a trial or administrative hearing; to do otherwise would be a violation of that person’s due process.
Read the original article in the Fresno Bee.