Monday, September 7, 2015

Real Estate Brokerage Regulatory Updates - 8/16/15 NYS Board of Real Estate meeting summary

On 8/26/15 the NYS Board of Real Estate continued its mission of optimizing the regulation of real estate brokers in our state by holding its meeting in NYC, Buffalo and Albany. To remind real estate brokers and salespersons, the public is welcome at these meetings where the public can bring comments from the floor. Its encouraged that Lieb School students attend these meetings to have your voices heard.

"[T]he Board has general authority to promulgate rules and regulations affecting real estate brokers and salespersons in order to administer and effectuate the purposes of Article 12-A of the Real Property Law."

A complete video of the meeting is available on youtube.

In summary, the following was discussed:

  1. Enforcement:
    • 5 new investigators are on the enforcement staff;
    • Approximately 70% of DOS enforcement is related to real estate brokerage;
    • The majority of enforcement has recently addressed client funds (a/k/a, escrow) - it was suggested that a brokerage creates a job of escrow accounts supervisor to minimize organizational confusion and it was suggested that such individual needn't be licensed in brokerage;
    • Secondarily enforcement has mostly addressed brokers failing to immediately terminate their salespersons upon request by the salesperson;
    • Enforcement contacts respondents often through the email address provided to DOS, so brokers need to check their email (not just physical mail);
  2. Curriculum:
    • Changes to the broker's curriculum are in the works:
    • Curriculum will maintain 45 hour requirement; 
    • Curriculum is expanding the topic of broker's operations to 16 hours, which includes license law and agency; 
  3. The Real Estate License Law updates from 5/2015 address changes to part 19 NYCRR sections:
    • 175.12 - key change of duplicate original to only require a copy (strangely the title stayed at "Delivering duplicate original of instrument")
    • 175.20
    • 175.24(a)
    • 177.2
    • 179.1
    • 179.2(b)
    • 179.3(a) 
At the end of the meeting there was public comment addressing 19 NYCRR 177.2, which states, in pertinent part, as follows "[n]o real estate course of study seeking approval may be affiliated with or

controlled by a real estate broker, salesperson, firm or company or real estate franchise, or controlled by a subsidiary of any real estate broker or real estate franchise." 

Specifically, it was alleged that online schools are giving referral fees to brokerage offices that recommend such schools on the brokerage's website. The Board suggested that a complaint be made to enforcement and/or an opinion letter be requested from the Department of State to clarify the applicable regulation to the alleged facts.  

The next meeting will be scheduled in November or December 2015.