February 2019 1st Quarter Commission Comments

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Oklahoma Real Estate Commission

1st Quarter, February 2019

Chairman's Corner


During the month of January, the Investigations Department answered 376 phone calls at the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission.   Taking into account weekends, holidays and weather days, the average was 20 calls per day.  Since this is a major function of the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission, I thought I would give you the process resulting from your phone calls.   Often the caller is a licensee needing clarification as to whether they would be in violation of License Code and Regulations, but many times the caller is an individual wanting to lodge a formal complaint against a licensee about a practice they suspect to be in violation. More often, however, a formal complaint is received through US mail or email.

Once a complaint is received, it is reviewed by our Investigative staff ensuring the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission has jurisdiction.   This requires making sure the complaint involves a licensee, a licensed entity or an unlicensed person performing activities that require a real estate license.  Once a determination is made that we do have jurisdiction, a written notice is sent to both the complainant and the accused party/parties, Respondent(s). A copy of the written complaint containing the accusations is provided to the respondent(s).  Each respondent is then required to submit an adequate written response within 15 days from receipt of the notice back to the commission.   Failure to respond is an additional violation to be considered.  All parties must respond, so just having a response from your Broker is not enough, the licensee must also respond.   The complaint is then assigned to an investigator.

The investigator will conduct the investigation by gathering information provided in the complaint, through any legal documents that can be obtained through court records, law enforcement agencies and by field inspections.  The investigator will usually contact all parties and attempt to meet with each party in a face-to-face interview.  Once they have gathered all of the information that is available, the investigator will write a report and present the report to a Case Examiner, who is an attorney, for a legal review.   The Case Examiner will make a recommendation to the Commissioners to either close the case, meaning no violation of the Code and Rules occurred, close the case with a letter of caution, or ask to have a formal hearing set.   Each month, the Commission reviews the recommendations and takes action accordingly.

If a formal hearing is set, the parties are informed of the date and time to appear.   An attorney for the Commission will act as the prosecutor while the Respondent is entitled to have legal counsel available to defend the charges.  These formal hearings are open to the public and provide a great opportunity to see the process and learn what violations are occurring.  A Hearing Examiner listens to all of the witnesses, examines all of the evidence and then writes a report with their recommendations and findings.  The Hearing Officer will recommend to the Commission fines, suspensions, revocations, additional continuing education requirements, downgrading of a license or a written warning.

The process then moves to the monthly Oklahoma Real Estate Commission meeting agenda where all seven (7) Commissioners consider recommendations and any written or oral exceptions filed by a respondent. The Commission then confirms, modifies or rejects the recommendations.  Over the past couple of years, the Commissioners have sought to impress upon respondents the severity of coming before the Commission. We want respondents to understand this is not just a speed bump in the real estate business.  Several times recently, Commissioners have rejected the suggested fines and sent the case back to the Hearing Examiner for higher fines or more punishment.   In those cases, the notification process has to be repeated to allow the Respondent an opportunity to appeal.

Once the recommendation is accepted by the Commission, the case file is submitted to the Oklahoma Attorney General's office for review and affirmation.  The final step is for the Commission to send a notice of action with requirements listed, which could include a fine.  The Respondent has 30 days to pay the fine.  If the fine isn't paid within 30 days, the fine automatically doubles and if not paid within an additional 30 days, the license is automatically revoked.

So as you can see, the process is not swift, the wheels of justice grind slowly but they do eventually reach the correct decision and justice is served.  I encourage you to attend a Commission meeting and observe how the process works while receiving up to three (3) hours of continuing education!

Future Commission Meetings

March 13, 2019
April 10, 2019
May 8, 2019
Commission meetings are traditionally held on the second Wednesday of each month beginning at 9:30 am.  If there is not enough agenda material to warrant a meeting, or there are extenuating circumstances, we will either postpone or cancel that meeting date.

Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are held at the Denver N. Davison Building, 1915 North Stiles Avenue - Suite 200, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4915.

A licensee is eligible to receive up to three (3) hours of core/required continuing education credit for attending a Commission meeting.  In order to obtain this credit, please register with the Education Department prior to the meeting.

Upcoming CE classes


All real estate licensees are invited to attend two seminars being offered across the state by the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission. These seminars are offered at no charge to Oklahoma licensees and are underwritten by the Oklahoma Real Estate Education and Recovery Fund. To receive credit for the courses you must be on time and present for the entire class. 

9:00 a.m. to Noon 
OREC Code and Rules  presented by OREC Acting Executive Director Sherry Kueffler
3 hours CAR Credit - required subject

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Social Media Do's and Don'ts  presented by N2R Media - attendees should bring phones and/or laptops and be prepared to participate in different social media platforms
3 hours HOT Credit - required subject

Class dates and locations are as follows:

February 22, 2019 - Tulsa
Tulsa Technology Center, 6111 East Skelly Drive, Tulsa, OK

March 7, 2019 - El Reno
Canadian Valley Vo-Tech, 6505 East Highway 66, El Reno, OK

Each workshop is limited to 100 attendees, so registration is strongly recommended as we cannot guarantee availability without a confirmed registration.  To register, email orec.help@orec.ok.gov

Instructor Development Workshop

This year's workshop will be held at the Tulsa Technology Center on April 26, 2019. Approved pre-license and post instructors are required to attend a Commission directed instructor renewal course every twenty-four (24) months to maintain their approval status. Please contact our Education Department to register, orec.help@orec.ok.gov.

New Technology

CE Broker

Very soon the Commission will be launching a new online continuing education tracking system called CE Broker. Licensees will be able to sign up for a free basic account allowing them access to their course history. Licensees will also be able to  view all courses taken and can easily find and report any hours that might be missing. Licensees will also be able to search for courses needed to complete their license renewal. After the course is completed, the educational provider will report the hours to CE Broker. Please make sure your email addresses are current so you don't miss any future announcements regarding the deployment of this system.

Electronic Fingerprint Scanning

One other upcoming change will be the implementation of electronic fingerprint scanning. Oklahoma authorized a state-wide contract with Idemia to provide Livescan services for the purpose of obtaining a criminal history report from OSBI. This service will dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes to receive criminal history reports for license applicants. Currently, it takes approximately two weeks before we receive the results from OSBI after submitting fingerprint cards. We expect to receive results within 72 hours through the Livescan process. Stay tuned, we'll keep you advised!

Contract Forms Committee

New contract form changes went into effect January 1, 2019 and can be found on our website here. Contract Forms Committee meetings are open to the public. Please contact our office to find out when the next committee meeting will be held. The current committee members are:

Martin Van Meter-Durant; Steve Burris-OKC; Don Beach-Tulsa; Charles McBride-Tulsa; Victoria Caldwell-OKC; Monica Wittrock-OKC; Robert Bailey-Norman; Chris Tweedy-OKC; Don Lorg-OKC; Robert Bahe-McAlester; Terry Pufahl-OKC; and Keith Taggart-Mustang.

Remembering those no longer with us.....

In memory
Gregory Allen Winkeljohn - Enid
Larry Snider - Durant
Mary Jean Goodwin - Kingston
Tenecka Holley - OKC

Fair Housing Update: Recent Charges Highlight Discrimination Issues

Reprinted courtesy of ARELLO's Boundaries magazine.

[The following examples are based on HUD announcements and charging or other documents in pending cases (and one settled matter) that have not been adjudicated, thus the recited factual circumstances and legal conclusions are mere
allegations that have not been proven. HUD FHA charges are heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. FHA remedies such as fines, damages, injunctive and other equitable relief, and attorney fees, may be awarded only upon a finding that unlawful discrimination has occurred (or if the case is settled).]

Designated Parking Spaces: HUD recently alleged that companies involved in the management of a West Virginia apartment complex engaged in prohibited
discrimination by refusing the request for a designated parking space made by a resident with disabilities. The resident verbally requested the parking space and was
told to get a prescription from her doctor, which she did. The prescription indicated that the resident’s disability requires a designated parking space “close to home.” Her
medical provider also returned a verification indicating the need for a designated parking space close to her unit and identifying the relationship between the requested
accommodation and her disability. The companies allegedly failed to grant the request. The resident continued to have difficulties finding a parking space close to her unit, which exacerbated her medical condition, and moved out of the property. HUD General Council Paul Compton said, “When a resident needs a designated parking space as an accommodation for her disability and providing one will not be an undue burden or fundamental alteration, a housing provider must do so.”

Assistance Animals and Common Areas: HUD has alleged that a New Jersey condominium association violated the FHA by only allowing a sight and hearing impaired resident, when accompanied by her assistance animal, to use the service door instead of the main entrance to the development or its common areas. According to HUD, “The case came to HUD’s attention when the daughter of a condominium resident who uses an assistance animal filed a complaint alleging that the condominium association refused to waive its requirement that residents transport pets in carriers when in common areas, and was fined $100 for walking the animal in the development’s common areas. Because of the resident’s mobility impairments, her daughter was primarily responsible for walking the dog. Additionally, when the resident was with her assistance animal, she was required to use the service door to enter and exit the building.” Mr. Compton noted, “Rules that limit access to condominium common areas for persons with disabilities who need an assistance animal violate the Fair Housing Act.”

Occupancy Policies Restricting Children: The owners of a three-bedroom rental
unit in Wisconsin have been charged with violating the FHA by refusing to rent
to a couple with five children, and by making prohibited statements “indicating any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on familial status, or that indicates
an intention to make such a distinction.” According to HUD, the owners’ occupancy policy for all of their rental properties allowed no more than two people per bedroom,
and thus limited the subject property to six residents. However, HUD alleges that the unit is large enough for the family under the local housing code, and three of the children would only have lived there part time. According to the HUD charges, an occupancy policy of two persons per bedroom is presumptively reasonable under the FHA,
but the presumption is rebuttable by considering certain factors (e.g., bedroom/unit size and configuration, age of children, physical limitations of the housing, state
and local law, etc. [Citations omitted]). The owners also allegedly said that they were not comfortable with having five children living in the unit and that “this is too many
kids and having three boys sharing a bedroom would be too many for one room even if two of the boys are only there part time.” The owners also allegedly told the couple
they did not feel that the house would be cleaned properly and were concerned things would get damaged. HUD’s Paul Compton commented, “Assuming that families with
children make bad tenants is an unlawful stereotype. When a housing provider refuses to rent to a family because the family has children, the refusal violates the Fair Housing

Investigations - 2018

The Investigations Department reported the following complaint totals for 2018:

Formal Complaints - 139

Unlicensed Complaints - 15

Education - 1

Licensing Report

The most current report of the total number of individual licensees, including brokers, sales associates and provisional sales associates is 18,484. Licenses issued to entities such as a corporation or branch offices is 2,887; for a combined total of 21,371.

Associates' Corporations for Receiving Commissions

According to OREC rule 605:10-11-3, associates may establish a corporation or association for the purpose of receiving commissions. Payment to such corporation or association is not considered a violation of the licensing law as it relates to sharing commissions with unlicensed entities. However, this does not allow the associate to engage in real estate related activities using the name of the corporation or association. The associate's corporation or association may not advertise or receive any commissions except from the associate's managing broker. The broker and associate must complete and sign a Commission approved form that includes a statement that the associate is the majority stockholder and president of the corporation or majority member of the association, the names and relation of all officers/members and/or stockholders and a verification that the association or corporation is in good standing with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.

Once the associate's corporation or association is approved by the Commission, commissions earned by the associate may be paid to the corporation or association. Only commissions earned by the associate identified on the approval may be paid to the corporation or association.

Payment of Commissions for Teams

Teams are defined as any two or more licensees working under the supervision of the same broker, working together on real estate transactions to provide brokerage services, representing themselves to the public as being part of a team, and are designated by a team name. As of November 1, 2017, teams must be registered with the Commission prior to performing any licensable activities. Further, commissions earned through activities performed by team members must be paid to each licensee by the supervising broker. A team is not licensed and therefore, shall not receive commissions.

Trade Names vs Team Names

With the new requirement regarding the registration of team names, the Commission has received several questions relating to whether a name should be registered as a trade name or team name. A team has been defined as two or more licensees working together and under the supervision of the same broker. A team is not licensed, yet is made up of two or more individual licensees. Team names must be registered with the Commission prior to it's use. This team name may not be a registered entity with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, such as an LLC or an association. A trade name is a name that has been registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State as another name an entity will do business as, commonly known as a dba. A trade name may not be registered as a team name as it belongs to an entity. If an entity is conducting real estate licensable activities, it must hold an active real estate license.