California real estate licensing lawyer – fighting the denial of a real estate license!
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When you are trying to get your real estate license through either the BRE (ex. salesperson or broker’s license) or DBO (ex. CFL lending license or CRMLA) or California bureau of real estate Appraisal. you may not immediately get your licensed issued after you submit your application for licensing. Instead, you may get the bad news by getting a “statement of issues” in the mail. This means that the regulatory agency seeks to deny you your real estate license, and this will set forth the reasons your license is being denied. When this happens, you have 15 days to submit a notice of defense and seek a hearing to try to obtain your licensing rights. This blog discusses this in general.
What is a statement of issues?
The statement of issues is an official document filed by the BRE, DBO or Bureau of Appraisal that seeks to deny you the right to obtain your license. Usually it will be on one of the following grounds:
1. Character issues
2. Prior crime
3. Criminal convictions not disclosed
4. Violation of consumer protection scheme
5. Violation of state or federal regulatory scheme
There could be other reasons, but these are some of the main ones. If you have something else, call us at (877) 276-5084.
How does this compare with an “accusation” involving my real estate license?
An accusation is similar, but involves the regulatory agency seeking to suspend, revoke, restrict or otherwise discipline a real estate or appraisal license that YOU ALREADY HAVE. In the statement of issues scenario, you do not have the license yet, you are trying to get it. In an accusation (since you have a vested “property right” in your license, it is the agency or Bureau that bears the burden of proof to show your licensing rights should be disciplined).
What is the hearing process?
The process dealing with the statement of issue generally proceeds as follows:
- You receive the statement of issues served on you
- You have 15 calendar days to file your “Notice of Defense” (if you fail to do so, you can be deemed to have WAIVED your right to a hearing on the issues.
- The discovery file is requested
- Discovery is exchanged (witnesses, documents to be used, subpoenas, depositions, etc.)
- Settlement talks and proposals are undertaken
- Motion to compel discovery may need to be filed
- Pre-hearing settlement conference
- Hearing (the hearing is in front of an administrative law judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings – “OAH). Note that OAH has offices in Oakland, Fresno, Sacramento and Los Angeles.
- The ALJ (judge) hears the case and renders a proposed order with findings of fact
- The decision goes to the relevant commissioner’s offices usually within 30 days
- The commissioner may accept, amend, reject, modify the ALJ decision
- A motion for reconsideration can be filed with the agency if not satisfied with the outcome.
- A judicial review to superior court (writ of mandamus) is also possible.
This is the general process. This could vary in your case.
Who bears the burden of proof?
In dealing with a statement of issues and seeking licensing rights, the burden to prove entitlement to a license, compliance with the laws and statutes and good character, financial responsibility, etc. will be on the applicant. To learn more about the “burden of proof” watch this video.
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Do I need to hire a lawyer?
No. It is not required that you hire a lawyer, but you are able to retain one and be represented by a real estate attorney at the hearing. When your license is on the line, this makes a lot of sense. If you are going to be retained by counsel, you should note this on your Notice of Defense. Note, the state agency will NOT appoint you a free lawyer and there is no right to that.
I received a notice of defense, what do I do with it?
Again, the Notice of Defense must not be ignored if you plan on challenging the BRE, DBO or other agency notice of intention to den you. You need to fill out the form and return it immediately so you are not deemed to have “waived your right to a hearing.” Note: Even if you have missed the 15 day deadline, contact us, there may be other ways to get your hearing on calendar nonetheless.
Bonus materials: Click on the picture to watch a brief overview of the Notice of Defense and what it is. Click on the Red “V” in the corner to SUBSCRIBE to free legal updates!!
Do I have a chance to get this case settled without a formal hearing?
Yes. After we have a chance to put your case together, we can send a formal settlement proposal to the BRE, DBO or other regulatory agency. In many cases, but not all, they will be willing to reach a settlement agreement in regard to licensing rights. In other cases, you will have to go to a hearing to prove you are entitled to a license and prove your case up to the judge.
Contact a real estate law firm
Our firm has been a leader in California real estate broker law over the past 12 years. We started incorporating brokers, and getting individuals and companies licensed with the BRE. We assisted companies in dealing with the NMLS and Safe Act issues, RESPA, TILA, and moved into advance fee agreements when the market crashed (we obtained over 55 approved advance fee agreements for our clients). We have assisted in arbitration, litigation, board commission disputes, ethics hearings, commercial and residential real estate transactions and more. In short, we are the Broker Counsel you should be considering hiring if you are moving forward with an accusation, or responding to a statement of issues. We offer low flat rate fees for many cases, (but not all), including real estate admission cases, subpoena responses, licensing surrender, and other cases. Contact us at (877) 276-5094.
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