Division of Real Estate Releases Discipline Summaries
June 14, 2019 |
With its Spring 2019 Newsletter, the Division of Real Estate has released disciplinary summaries of Real Estate Commission actions against real estate salespersons, brokers, and unlicensed persons and entities. The summaries reveal a continued pattern of cases involving agents permitting unsupervised access to properties, failure to cooperate with Division personnel in investigations and agents signing transactional documents on the behalf of others without a power of attorney. The Commission also took action against several licensees for dishonest or illegal dealing, gross negligence, incompetency, or misconduct.
The Division provided summaries of twenty cases before the Commission occurring through October of 2018. Four of the cases involved licensees providing unauthorized access to properties without the written permission of the property’s owner. In one case, a salesperson was ordered to complete three hours of ethics education, serve a 10-day suspension, and pay a $1,000.00 fine. In this case, the Commission determined the salesperson provided a combination lock to the gate to a property to an interested buyer of a subject property, which resulted in the person’s unsupervised access to the subject property.
In another case, a salesperson was ordered to complete three additional hours of ethics education, serve a seven-day suspension, and pay a $750.00 fine. The Commission determined the salesperson provided a client with a lock box combination, which allowed her client to access the subject property without the escort of a real estate licensee. In the third case, a salesperson was ordered to complete three hours of ethics education, serve a ten-day suspension, and pay a $100.00 fine. The Commission found the agent provided a lock box code to a client, who was not licensed. The client subsequently made unsupervised entry to the subject property. In the last case a salesperson was ordered to complete three hours of ethics education, three hours of core law education, serve a ten-day suspension and pay a $500.00 fine. The Commission found that the agent permitted a waterproofing contractor to access the subject property without the escort of a real estate licensee and without the owner’s prior written approval.
In November of 2018, the Division sent a letter to each principal broker regarding agents providing unsupervised access to properties. The Division indicated the letter was the result of an alarming increase in the number of cases before the Commission involving buyers and contractors obtaining access to properties without the presence of a licensed agent. The Superintendent has reminded licensees that they have fiduciary duties to the seller and should obtain the seller’s written and informed consent prior to permitting unsupervised access to the seller’s property. The Division suggests that such written consent is necessary even if the property is occupied or vacant.
As detailed above, in each disciplinary case, the Commission imposes some form of disciplinary education, license suspension, and fine. Although agents may feel comfortable sharing lockbox codes with friends, trusted business colleagues or those with different professional licensure or credentials, agents are reminded to obtain a seller’s or owner’s written consent before sharing any lockbox codes with non-licensees. For more information, review the Division’s 2019 Newsletter.