Honesty Is Best When Applying For A Real Estate License In California
Over the last year, the California State Department of Real Estate revoked a record number of real estate licenses held by brokers and salespersons in the state to protect the public. The DRE also accepted a record number of real estate license surrenders from licensees facing disciplinary action.
In one incident, a father living in California had been operating under the name of his son who lives out of state, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
To obtain a broker’s license in California in 1998, the father used the name and personal details of his 44-year-old son. For almost 14 years, the 73-year-old father falsely advertised himself as a broker in Southern California. But, after questions involving his past were raised, an investigation led to an order requiring the 73-year-old to stop practicing real estate and to the surrender of the professional license in his son’s name. Although all of the facts have not completely been drawn out yet, the father may have used the son’s name to avoid disclosing a felony to the DRE.
When applying for a real estate license, applicants are required to disclose all past criminal convictions, and certain crimes, such as theft or embezzlement, may prevent an applicant from gaining approval. The father was a former Arizona state legislator who in 1990 accepted $55,000 from the Phoenix police in a sting operation and was sentenced to five years in prison. The 73-year-old served 14 months of the sentence and was on parole for more than three years. He later moved to San Diego County and allegedly used his son’s information to acquire a real estate license. Both father and son share the same first name.
The use of a fictitious or false name by a real estate agent is among the 10 most common violations found in audits conducted by the DRE. While some agents may use a different name in an attempt to avoid making certain disclosures, many brokers cited for violation of the regulation believed that registering their business’s name with the county was sufficient to conduct their real estate business. Brokers also need to register their business’s name with the DRE and should check their license status with the DRE to ensure their real estate license bears their business’s name in addition to their name.
According to the DRE, a large number of disciplinary actions involving real estate licenses are related to criminal conviction violations. Individuals are often either denied licenses or disciplined by the DRE for failing to disclose a criminal conviction on an application for licensure. The DRE suggests that those applying for a real estate license should take great care to disclose all past criminal convictions. If a conviction is not disclosed, the DRE will learn of the conviction anyway through public records and the applicant’s chance of receiving a license will be lowered for failure to disclose.
When a disciplinary action is initiated against a professional license holder, it is a serious issue. A professional may face a suspension or loss of license from the authority that grants the license and therefore the loss of his or her livelihood. Moreover, the license holder may also be subject to criminal charges. A person who acts like a real estate broker but does not have a license faces up to $20,000 in fines and up to six months in jail if caught and convicted. If you are subject to a disciplinary issue involving your professional license, contact an experienced administrative law attorney to review your legal options and help protect your career.