InGov: April 2017 Oklahoma Real Estate Commission Meeting

Hello again friends, colleagues, and clients of GDL Legal PLLC. Welcome back to the OREC edition of InGov – your view Inside Government. InGov is a regular column by GDL Legal that covers important news and updates from inside Oklahoma government agencies on matters that are important to you like enforcement, investigations, and changes to rules and laws. InGov is everything you need to know to stay on top of the changing regulatory environment inside your industry. Don’t get caught uninformed, stay updated with InGov by GDL Legal PLLC.

Investigations and Enforcement

This month’s Oklahoma Real Estate Commission meeting starts with an update on investigations and enforcement matters. The Commission started with considering a summary suspension of a real estate license. First, let’s hit the highlights of what a summary suspension is, when it can be used, and how the process works.

  • OREC can issue a summary suspension of a real estate license if the Commission makes a finding that the public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action.
  • This is an emergency action that is only available in serious circumstances where a licensee must be suspended immediately.
  • The Commission is not required to give you notice they will be considering the summary suspension before acting.
  • If the Commission issues the summary suspension, a formal hearing will be set within 30 days of the effective date of the summary suspension. This is where you will be given notice and an opportunity to be heard at an administrative hearing.
  • Summary suspensions remain in effect until otherwise ordered by the Commission.

What do you need to know from the facts of this particular summary suspension case?

  • Remember, a homeowner can take video and audio recordings of you while you are showing their house, and they are not required to tell you they are recording you. These recordings can form the basis for a complaint to OREC or as evidence in a lawsuit.
  • Don’t go through a homeowner’s belongings, and take every precaution to avoid giving the appearance you are going through a homeowner’s belongings. When opening drawers or cabinets in the home for inspection, you should avoid any unnecessary interaction with the homeowner’s belongings.

Moving on to other enforcement and investigation cases, here are the highlights:

  • Misappropriating $150,000 you are holding in trust will almost certainly result in a revoked license, even if you pay all the money back.
  • Review your online marketing procedures and marketing materials. This includes websites and social media pages. For example, online marketing materials must prominently and conspicuously identify the broker. Now is a good time to review your online presence for compliance with the code and rules.
  • Conviction of a criminal act, in many circumstances, can result in an administrative fine from OREC. This includes drug and alcohol related violations like DUIs.
  • Is your trust account registered with OREC? Do you have protections in place to prevent double-billing or improperly accounting for funds you are holding? Have you protected against comingling your funds and trust funds?
  • The Commission set over fifteen new cases for formal hearing. If you are concerned about compliance with the code and rules, make sure you are addressing those issues voluntarily rather than after a complaint is filed with OREC.

That’s it for the major updates from the April 2017 Oklahoma Real Estate Commission meeting. The next OREC meeting likely won’t be until June 14, 2017, meaning the May meeting is tentatively canceled. I highly recommend you make time to attend at least one OREC meeting to see what your industry regulatory board does. As an incentive to attend, you get continuing education credits just for showing up to the meeting.

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