People often give tasks they consider menial, such as making the coffee and filing, to a junior intern. While coffee may be essential to staff morale, proper filing is genuinely vital, despite what people think. If you work in real estate, filing errors could lead to a date with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) disciplinary board.
As a real estate broker, you must maintain accurate records relating to real estate transactions and retain related paperwork for three years. Documents you need to store include:
- Deposit receipts
- Canceled checks
- Trust records
You can file them onsite, off-site or electronically and must produce them if required by the DRE. You do not need to retain text messages or those sent via messaging apps unless they are evidence of something to do with the transaction.
The DRE are not the only people that may want to see documents or receipts. The tax office can request specific items for up to six years. If you face a lawsuit over a transaction, it will be far easier to defend yourself if you have copies of the relevant documents. People may have up to seven years to file, depending upon the issue.
You can also fall afoul of regulations for keeping specific information too long. Personal information, such as the client’s social security numbers, signatures or contact details, must be destroyed after the three-year retention period.
If the DRE finds that you failed to comply with the different retention requirements, they could take disciplinary action or even revoke your real estate license. Maybe you should think twice before giving the filing to the intern.