Ohio Real Estate License Defense Lawyer
The Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing is the governing body that dictates the education and testing requirements for becoming a broker, agent, salesperson, or appraiser. It is also the entity that determines your continuing education and licensing renewal requirements. If you received a letter regarding potential disciplinary action, you should contact an Ohio professional license lawyer at Graff & McGovern. We have decades of experience representing professionals during the disciplinary process. We will work with the Division of Real Estate to avoid any disciplinary action, and if necessary, represent you during an administrative hearing.
Contact us today at (614) 228-5800 or through our online form to schedule an appointment.
The Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing
As a part of the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Division of Real Estate is responsible for licensing:
- Real Estate Brokers
- Foreign Real Estate Developments
- Foreign Salespeople
In addition to handling licensing, continuing education, and license renewal for real estate professionals working in Ohio, the Division also registers out of state real estate developments marketed in Ohio as well as cemeteries.
Common Enforcement Issues
If you are licensed through the Division of Real Estate, or you should be, then the division has the authority to investigate claims of misconduct, and if it deems necessary, discipline you.
Some common reasons for disciplinary hearings and sanctions include:
- Unlicensed real estate activities
- Deceptive or unfair marketing and advertising
- Discriminatory practices
- Violations of state and federal fair housing laws
- Brokers lending their name/license for the benefit of another individual or entity
- Brokers paying or giving gifts to unlicensed individuals for a referral
- Brokers failing to disclose material facts about a property the purchaser is unlikely to discover
- Appraisers using inappropriate properties as sales comparables
- Appraisers using inaccurate zoning descriptions
- Appraisers using unverified data sources
- Appraisers using an unsupported cost approach regarding value and depreciation
- Appraisers intentionally omitting negative information from a market analysis
The Disciplinary Process
After a person files a signed written complaint against a licensed real estate broker or licensed real estate salesperson with the division of real estate, the superintendent of real estate sends a notice to the licensee describing the acts complained of. An informal mediation meeting is held with the complainant, the licensee, and an investigator from the investigation and audit section of the division if the complainant and licensee both file a request for such a meeting on a form provided by the superintendent.
If the complainant and licensee reach an accommodation at an informal mediation meeting, the investigator shall so report to the superintendent, the complainant, and licensee and the complaint file shall be closed. If the complainant and licensee fail to agree to an informal mediation meeting or fail to reach an accommodation the superintendent shall investigate the conduct of the licensee against whom the complaint was filed.
Within sixty business days after receipt of the complaint or an informal meeting is held, whichever is later, the investigator shall file a written report of the results of the investigator’s investigation with the superintendent. The superintendent reviews the report and determines whether there exists reasonable and substantial evidence of a violation of section 4735.18 of the Revised Code by the licensee.
If the superintendent finds such evidence exists, the superintendent notifies the complainant and licensee of the date of a hearing to be held by a hearing. If the superintendent finds that such evidence does not exist, the superintendent notifies the complainant and licensee of the superintendent’s determination and the basis for the determination.
The complainant may file with the division a request that the commissioners review the determination. The commissioners shall review the determination at the next regularly scheduled meeting held at least fifteen business days after the request is filed. The commission shall hear the testimony of either the complainant or the licensee at the meeting upon the request of the complainant or licensee. The commissioners may affirm the determination of the superintendent, or reverse the determination of the superintendent. If the determination is reversed, a hearing shall be held.
The hearing is a unique legal process, which means that you may benefit from having legal representation. An experienced Ohio Real Estate License Defense lawyer will conduct a thorough review and gather the best evidence to present to the hearing officer, which may include documentation, witness testimony, and more. Your lawyer may also review whether negotiating a settlement would work in your favor.
After the hearing, the hearing officer reviews and considers all of the evidence presented. It then provides a recommendation to the Superintendent regarding whether or not you should be disciplined, and if so, the appropriate disciplinary action. This may include denying a license application, suspending your license for a period of time, revoking your license permanently, fines, and other administrative sanctions.
How an Ohio Real Estate License Defense Lawyer Can Help
Once you receive notice of an investigation from the division, it is important to call an attorney right away. An investigation may stem from a misunderstanding or a disgruntled client and by having a lawyer you can put yourself in a better position to effectively communicate with the division. This may help you avoid a disciplinary hearing or possible sanctions.
If you are not able to clear up the investigation, then the next step is to go through mediation, negotiate a settlement with the division, or defend yourself at a hearing. An attorney can discuss the best next step in your case. There may be advantages and disadvantages to each of these methods, which your attorney can explain. If you are likely to be found guilty of misconduct, a lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement to mitigate the consequences. However, if you are confident in your innocence, you may wish to defend yourself at a hearing.
At Graff & McGovern, our lawyers are highly experienced in these types of administrative processes. We know Ohio’s real estate regulations and how the administrative process works. Our lawyers are here to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome, including maintaining your license.
Contact Graff & McGovern Today
If you are an Ohio real estate professional and you received a letter from the Division of Real Estate regarding misconduct and possible disciplinary action, it is important to protect your license and professional reputation. Contact us at (614) 228-5800 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.