The Bureau can issue citations to both licensees and non-licensees

Effective July 1, 2014, the Bureau of Real Estate under Commissioner’s regulation 2907 has finalized its authority to issue citations pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 10080.9.  CalBRE states that its citation authority will be used for relatively minor and technical violations that do not involve fraud, dishonesty, or loss or injury to a consumer.  Examples of such violations are failure to inform CalBRE of a change of address, failure to disclose a license number on first point of contact advertising, failure to report a newly hired salesperson, and failure to timely submit required threshold or periodic business activity reports.

A citation may include a corrective order as well as an administrative fine ranging from $0-$2,500. Fines will have to be paid and corrective action taken within 30 days, generally. The maximum fine for licensees is $2,500 per citation. The amount of the fine will be determined taking into account whether the act was inadvertent, or deliberate or negligent and whether it is a first fine or a repeat of a similar offense.  

A licensee can ask for a Citation Review Conference, an informal review conducted by CalBRE, if they believe the fine is not warranted.  If the fine and citation are upheld, the licensee can seek an administrative hearing with an administrative law judge.

CalBRE also notes that its authority extends to persons engaging in real estate activity without the required license, an area that is always challenging for CalBRE.  While fines imposed on licensees are capped at $2,500 per citation, there is no similar cap for unlicensed persons.  Those acting without a license can be fined up to $2,500 for each unlicensed act.  Fines for unlicensed activity could become quite large, which CalBRE hopes will act as a deterrent.

More information is available on the CalBRE website and in the CalBRE Spring 2014 Real Estate Bulletin.