California Bureau of Real Estate

California enacted the nation’s first real estate license law nearly 100 years ago in 1917. Today, the mission of the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) is to safeguard and promote the public interest in real estate matters through licensure, regulation, education and enforcement. CalBRE administers and enforces the Real Estate Law and the Subdivided Lands Law. Towards that end, CalBRE has the authority to hold formal hearings to decide issues regarding a licensee or license application, which may result in the suspension, revocation or denial of a real estate license. The Commissioner of CalBRE also has the authority to issue Desist and Refrain Orders to stop activities in violation of the Real Estate Law or the Subdivided Lands Law.

If you have been contacted by a CalBRE investigator, or have reason to believe you are under investigation, or you have received notice of an audit or Accusation, contact our office immediately to speak with a professional licensing attorney who has expertise defending real estate salespersons and brokers before the Bureau of Real Estate.

Additionally, we counsel applicants who may have issues in regard to criminal convictions or prior discipline on how to put forward the best application packages possible.

Disciplinary Process

Investigations are made by CalBRE’s Enforcement Section based upon written complaints made by the public, or may be triggered by CalBRE learning of a licensee being charged or convicted of a crime. CalBRE has jurisdiction over real estate licensees, subdividers and unlicensed persons who have performed acts which require a real estate license.

Upon the conclusion of the investigation, should CalBRE believe that sufficient evidence of a violation of the Real Estate Law or Subdivided Lands Law exist they may refer the matter to the Office of the Attorney General for the filing of an Accusation, which may ultimately result in suspension or revocation of the license following an administrative hearing.

Criminal Charges and Convictions

Under California Business and Professions Code section 10186.2 a real estate licensee is required to report to CalBRE any of the following:

  • the bringing of an indictment or information charging a felony against the licensee
  • the conviction of the licensee, including any plea of guilty or no contest, of any felony or misdemeanor
  • any disciplinary action taken against the licensee by any licensing authority in California, any other state or the federal government

Licensees must make this report in writing within 30 days of the bringing of the indictment, date of the conviction, guilt plea or disciplinary action. Failure to make this report is itself independent grounds for discipline.

Although the criminal charge or conviction must be “substantially related” to the qualifications, functions and duties of a real estate licensee, both CalBRE and the courts take a broad interpretation of which convictions are substantially related. Courts have held that offenses involving physical violence, fraud, theft, or dishonesty are all substantially related to the work of a real estate licensee, even when those offenses do not involve clients or job-related matters.

If you are real estate broker or agent charged with a crime, or face discipline in any other licensing setting, it is important to consider the impact of the decisions you make there on your California real estate license. The professional licensing attorneys of Kevin Cauley, P.C. should be a part of your defense team to properly advise you on the best ways to protect your license.

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