Qualified and Effective License Defense Before the
Department of Real Estate
Protecting and Supporting Your Real Estate Practice with a Real Estate License Attorney
The Department of Real Estate (DRE) is responsible for the licensing and oversight of property managers, real estate salespersons, and brokers. The DRE has the power to initiate a variety of disciplinary actions, including the filing of an Accusation to revoke or suspend a license, the filing of a Statement of Issues denying a license application, the filing of Desist and Refrain Orders against both licensed and unlicensed individuals, and the processing of Petitions for Reinstatement or the removal of license restrictions.
The Law Office of Gould & Hahn is experienced in defending licensees in all aspects of DRE disciplinary actions, as well as in responding to audits of trust accounts, and we are prepared to protect your license or assist in processing your license application thoroughly and efficiently. Our office has been successfully assisting individuals with DRE licensing matters since 1995 and is qualified and able to protect your license and livelihood. If your license becomes the subject of a disciplinary action or you are the subject of a DRE audit, contact the experienced legal professionals at Gould & Hahn to discuss how we can assist you.
Accusation to Revoke or Suspend a License
If the Department of Real Estate believes you have violated the laws relating to the real estate profession, the DRE will initiate a disciplinary action by filing an Accusation to revoke your license and permanently prohibit you from conducting real estate transactions. The Accusation will contain a list of unproven charges of wrongdoing demonstrating how you have violated the law. Except in very specific circumstances, all DRE licensees are entitled to an administrative hearing in which the DRE must prove the allegations contained in the Accusation. If you are served with an Accusation or believe you may be, contact Gould & Hahn immediately, as you have only 15 days to respond to the DRE and protect your right to defend against the charges. The attorneys that file the Accusations for the DRE specialize in real estate law and are hired for the specific purpose of disciplining or revoking real estate licenses. If you receive an Accusation, it is absolutely critical that you immediately retain qualified legal counsel that is experienced in defending licensees before the DRE.
Accusations to revoke or suspend a license arise out of a variety of circumstances. Some common issues include:
- Salespersons acting outside the scope of their licensed capacity
- Insufficient broker supervision
- DRE audits that reveal recordkeeping errors
- Trust fund handling violations
- Violations associated with short sale transactions
- Loan modification activity
- Criminal convictions and/or failure to disclose the conviction
Gould & Hahn will work closely with you to prepare your defense to the Department’s allegations. Our staff will request all of the DRE’s documents and will assist you in compiling your evidence and preparing your witnesses that rebut the allegations. The attorneys at Gould & Hahn are both compassionate and well grounded in the specialized requirements of agency law. Gould & Hahn will provide you with a realistic assessment of your case at every step of the process. Gould & Hahn is experienced in negotiating a settlement of the Accusation before hearing in an effort to avoid the uncertainty and financial and emotional expense of a contested administrative hearing. If the case cannot be settled, Gould & Hahn has experienced litigators who will vigorously and aggressively defend you at the administrative hearing.
Many licensees are unaware that as brokers, they may be held responsible for accounting violations and other violations committed by their salespersons, even when the conduct violates the broker’s policy and procedures and even when the broker has no knowledge of such conduct. If you are a broker who is aware that one of your salespersons is the subject of an investigation or subject to an Accusation filed by the DRE, it is important that you contact an experienced real estate licensing law attorney to learn of your rights and possible liabilities.
For more information on how the DRE initiates and prosecutes disciplinary action against a licensee, click on the flow chart depicted in the Map of the Enforcement Process section of our website. This chart provides an accurate map of how each board and agency investigates and prosecutes a complaint against one of its licensees.
License Application Denial
When the Department of Real Estate believes an individual is not qualified to be licensed, the DRE will deny the application. When the applicant appeals, the DRE will initiate a proceeding by filing a Statement of Issues. The filing of a Statement of Issues often results in a further delay in an already lengthy application process. If you receive a Statement of Issues, you have only 15 days to respond. If you do not respond within the 15-day period, you will lose your right to appeal the denial.
Like the Accusation process, the applicant is entitled to an administrative hearing on the issue of whether the Department has sufficient basis to deny the application. License applications are denied for many reasons, but common grounds often include:
- Criminal conviction and/or failure to disclose a criminal conviction in the license application
- Unlicensed activity
- Prior discipline by another licensing agency
The experienced attorneys and legal professionals at Gould & Hahn are familiar with the license application process, including what information should be presented to the DRE in support of the license application. They will discuss the potential settlement outcomes with you that may allow the case to be resolved quickly, allowing you to begin working and utilizing your license.
Filing for an Unrestricted License and Reinstatement
A restricted real estate license allows a licensee to continue to engage in the business of real estate while subject to certain additional terms and conditions, the most important being the Department’s ability to revoke the license without the opportunity for a hearing if the licensee violates a term or condition of the restricted license or is convicted of a crime. Gould & Hahn assists individuals with restricted licenses in preparing a Petition to remove restrictions and obtain an unrestricted license. If you or your company is working pursuant to a restricted license, contact the legal professionals at Gould & Hahn to discuss how we can assist you in obtaining an unrestricted license free of unnecessary and inappropriate terms and conditions.
Formerly licensed real estate agents who have surrendered their license or had their license revoked following a disciplinary action may, after a specified waiting period, file a Petition for Reinstatement with the DRE or file a new license application. If you are interested in reinstating your license, contact the legal professionals at Gould & Hahn to discuss how you can best position yourself for reinstatement and how we can assist you in preparing and filing your Petition.
Desist and Refrain Orders
In the event that the DRE believes an unlicensed individual is engaging in the business of real estate or a licensee is working outside the appropriate scope of his or her license, the DRE may issue a Desist and Refrain Order. A Desist and Refrain Order requires the licensee to immediately stop the action named in the Order. In some cases, a Desist and Refrain Order amounts to the constructive revocation of a license. If you are served with such an Order, you have legal recourse to overturn the Order and you should contact Gould & Hahn immediately to discuss your options and how we may best assist you.