As a licensed real estate professional, getting a citation can be a scary proposition. It can feel as though your reputation, and your livelihood, are in jeopardy. But you do have options and you don’t have to go through it all alone.
The California Department of Real Estate is the agency in charge of issuing citations to licensed real estate professionals. Typically, the Department only issues citations for minor infractions. Its goal is to enforce compliance rather than punish, so citations are often limited to correcting the alleged wrongdoing rather than levying punitive fines. However, the Department does have the ability to fine a professional – up to $2,500 per offense.
You can contest a citation
A citation is an allegation of wrongdoing, not proof of wrongdoing. And the agency, like any other organization, can be wrong in their accusation. Anyone who receives a citation has the right to request a hearing on the matter. The cited individual must notify the Department of their desire for a hearing within 30 days. The Department will then schedule a conference, at which the individual can meet with the Department and discuss the citation. You can bring documents or other evidence and present them to the Department’s representative, so that they may reconsider the citation’s merits.
Within 30 days of the conference, the Department will either affirm, dismiss or modify the citation. Should the citation stand, and you still wish to contest it, you are entitled to a formal administrative hearing. You also have the right to representation during this hearing and both you, and the Department, will be bound by the result.