Real Estate License Defense

Protect your Department of Real Estate License

Unlock Legal represents real estate agents and brokers who have issues with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE).

  • Was your application to the DRE rejected (or you’re worried it will be)?
  • Are you under investigation?
  • Do you have a pending criminal matter or a criminal conviction?

Whatever your concern, Unlock Legal can help you. We are the experts in defending professionals and protecting their licenses.

If your license is in jeopardy for any reason, contact us immediately for a free consultation.

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Real Estate License Defense

In California, real estate agents, brokers, and appraisers must be licensed by a state board. Anyone who works in the real estate industry is placed in a position of great trust, and California law takes real estate professionals’ obligations seriously.

The California Department of Real Estate maintains its own set of rules and procedures that agents must follow. The department reviews and grants licenses, and it drafts and updates regulations. In addition, agents may face audits of their books and records. The department acts as a consumer protection agency, taking action against agents that have been found to violate its rules.

License Applications, Denials and Statement of Issues

Applying for your license is exciting because it is one of the last hurdles before you can begin your career. For many the application process with the DRE is straightforward and simple. However, for some, past criminal convictions or other issues can lock them up. The attorneys at Unlock Legal will complete and file your application on your behalf to make sure that you have the best chance of having it granted.

If you have submitted your application and it has been denied, you are not locked out of your career. A denial of your application is called a Statement of Issues. We will defend you to the DRE with the intention that you are granted your license free and clear. If your license must be restricted, we will negotiate the best possible terms and conditions. A part of your defense may be cleaning up any past criminal issues to show your rehabilitation to the licensing body.

Investigations into Real Estate Professionals

As a real estate agent, your business practices may come under scrutiny, either as part of a review or in an investigation launched in response to a complaint. You are tasked with the responsibility of following the rules, and not knowing them exactly is not an excuse if you are accused of misconduct.

If you are notified that you are being investigated by the department, it is something that you should take very seriously. The department can investigate for a number of reasons, including:

  • Improper recordkeeping for trust funds
  • Acted as a real estate broker without a license
  • Failure to supervise a sponsored salesperson
  • Misrepresentation in connection with a transaction
  • A criminal conviction that bears upon your honesty and trust
  • Failing to notify the department of a criminal conviction

Investigation can mean that your real estate license is in jeopardy. In some cases, you may be informed by an investigator that you are the subject of a possible proceeding. If that happens, you should not attempt to deal with the department on your own. The potential penalties can mean a temporary or permanent end to your ability to do business In the real estate business.


An Accusation is a formal complaint drafted by the DRE attorneys. It alleges various causes of action against you which may stem from conviction of a crime, and/or allegations of other bad acts like substance abuse, or deviation from the standard of care. You have only 15 days to send a Notice of Defense once you have been served with an Accusation. If you miss the deadline a default order may be rendered against you resulting in the revocation of your license.

It is imperative that you hire experienced counsel to represent you if an Accusation has been filed against you. Time is of the essence, and your career and livelihood is at stake.

Penalties for Real Estate Law Violations

Here are some of the potential penalties that you can face if you are found to have committed misconduct:

  • Suspension of your license
  • Revocation of your license
  • Public or private reprimand
  • Administrative fine
  • Probation

The results of the investigation can even lead to potential criminal charges. It is essential to have a licensed defense attorney to protect your interests and tell your side of the story.

You are legally entitled to due process before the department can take any action against you, including the final denial of your application for a license. You can present your own facts to contest any proceeding that seeks disciplinary action. The department must seek punishment in a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. In addition, your attorney can interface with the department during the investigatory phase to potentially keep charges from being filed in the first place.

Reinstatement of License

If you have lost your license you are not locked out of the career of your choice. After a certain amount of time you are eligible to apply to the DRE again. In addition, you can generally request that your restricted license be converted to a full unencumbered license. We love to demonstrate mitigating circumstances and rehabilitation to the DRE to get our Real Estate agents and brokers back to work as soon as possible!

Contact a California Real Estate License Defense Attorney

The attorneys at Unlock Legal can help you fight for your reputation and what you have built in your business if you are being investigated. Your first step and standing up for yourself as contact an experienced attorney. You can message us online, or you can call us at (949) 988-4444 to schedule an appointment.

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