Real Estate License Defense Attorneys in Phoenix AZ
For real estate brokers, agents, and appraisers in Arizona, being properly licensed and in good standing with state boards is essential to your ability to do business.
When that standing becomes jeopardized due to a complaint or resulting investigation, you may feel like your very career is on the line—and rightly so. The experienced real estate license defense attorneys at Stewart Law Group will work to protect your professional credentials, your career, and your good name.
If you have had a complaint filed against you by the Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE), or have recently been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense, please contact us immediately at 602-548-3400.
What You Need to Know About Real Estate License Defense in Arizona
- Who Makes the Rules?
- 3 Reasons Why Hiring a Real Estate License Defense Attorney Is Important
- Types of Discipline Levied Aagainst Real Estate Agents, Brokers and Appraisers in Arizona
- How the Investigation Process Works
- Protect Your License and Your Reputation
- Talk with an Experienced Real Estate License Defense Attorney Near You
- Reviews of Our Phoenix AZ Real Estate License Defense Attorneys
There are numerous situations in which a real estate professional can potentially lose, or not receive, their license.
Securing legal counsel can be the difference between keeping your license active & in good standing, and having your career go down the drain.
Educate yourself about the process, the rules, and the potential disciplinary actions – then talk with an experienced RE license defense lawyer.
Who Makes the Real Estate License Rules in Arizona?
- Real estate sales agents and brokers are licensed in the State of Arizona by the Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE).
- Certified Residential Appraisers and Licensed Residential Appraisers are overseen by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions (AZDFI).
To qualify for credentials from these governing boards requires meeting extensive educational requirements, passing licensing exams and keeping current with continuing education.
To have these credentials called into question can be devastating to your livelihood, even if the allegations are untrue.
Disciplinary marks on your record may affect your ability to work for certain agencies, and the investigative process itself can cost you many hours of stress and missed work even if you are ultimately exonerated.
The best way to navigate these troubled waters is to hire legal counsel experienced in the state rules and regulations governing brokers, agents and appraisers.
Not only will it bring you more peace of mind through this difficult time — it might just save your career.
3 Reasons Why Hiring a Real Estate License Defense Attorney Is Important
If someone files a complaint against you, you have the option of responding on your own behalf, defending your interests directly before the Board.
However, you could be putting your career at risk by doing so. Hiring an experienced attorney at the beginning makes sense for the following reasons:
- Your case could extend beyond the boardroom into the courtroom. If the ADRE or AZDFI find a high likelihood of wrongdoing, and if you are unable to reach a Consent Agreement to resolve the issue, your case may be referred to the Attorney General’s Office, especially if the Board recommends revoking your credentials. Having an attorney already engaged can give you an advantage should this happen, and it may even help reduce the odds of the case progressing that far.
- You’ll have a better chance at resolving your issues favorably. Attorneys are skilled negotiators. A good lawyer can defend you against false accusations and negotiate a resolution that both you and the complainant can accept.
- You can stay focused on your career during the process. Dealing with complaints and licensing investigations can be stressful, grueling and time consuming. Since many real estate professionals are paid by commission, you could lose thousands of dollars in income just by being unavailable to clients. An attorney can take care of a lot of details in the background so you can keep focusing on what’s most important in your career while the investigation is ongoing.
The earlier in the process that you consult with a real estate license defense lawyer, the sooner we can begin working on your case.
Types of Discipline Levied Against Real Estate Agents, Brokers and Appraisers in Arizona
Depending on your credentials, the ADRE or AZDFI may seek disciplinary action against you for any of the following common reasons:
- Unlicensed activity — Performing services that aren’t covered by your professional credentials.
- Failure to supervise — If you are a broker, and an agent under your supervision either doesn’t have a license or breaks the rules, you could be held responsible.
- Misrepresentation — Saying something to a client that isn’t true with the intention of deception, inflating your credentials or failing to deliver on a key promise.
- Criminal conviction — Being convicted of a crime may compromise your license.
- Failure to disclose prior disciplinary actions or criminal convictions — When applying for your license, you must be forthright about any previous instances of disciplinary actions (for example, if you were licensed in another state). If the Board discovers you have withheld this information, your credentials could be rendered invalid.
“If the Auditing and Investigation Division forwards the case to the Enforcement and Compliance Division, it is reviewed to determine if there is sufficient evidence to pursue a disciplinary action. If there is evidence of a violation, but it is minor or technical in nature, the Department may issue a non-disciplinary Letter of Concern. Although non-disciplinary, a Letter of Concern remains in the file, and may be considered when determining future disciplinary actions.” – State of Arizona Department of Real Estate
How the Investigation Process Works
The Board that oversees your professional license may open an investigation against you a result of a formal consumer complaint. After screening the complaint to ensure it meets the proper criteria, the governing Board will issue you a copy of the complaint and give you an opportunity to respond in writing. At that point, the case is assigned to that department’s investigative division, who begins gathering information and testimony to determine whether you have committed an offense warranting discipline.
Once the investigation is complete, the Board will act in one of three ways:
- If the evidence doesn’t hold up to the claim, the investigation will be closed without action.
- If the Board deems the complaint potentially valid but lacks the evidence to prove it, it may issue a Letter of Concern—a non-disciplinary document that stays in your file and may be referenced if similar complaints occur in the future.
- With corroborative evidence, the Board may refer the case to its Enforcement Division for disciplinary action against you.
If the licensing Board feels discipline is warranted but not enough to revoke your license, you may be invited to negotiate a settlement and sign a Consent Order. If you decline to do so—or if the alleged violation is particularly severe—the Board may refer the case to the court system for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge to consider whether to revoke or suspend your credentials.
If this process sounds scary—it should.
However, the important thing to remember is that having an attorney can improve your chances of a positive outcome at every stage of this disciplinary process, from responding to the initial complaint to negotiating the consent agreement, and even representing you in court, if necessary.
Protect Your License and Your Reputation
If you are licensed as a real estate agent, real estate broker, certified residential appraiser or licensed residential appraiser in Arizona, you have obviously worked hard to get where you are today.
Don’t let a threat against those credentials ruin your achievements needlessly; let us work with you to defend your professional license and restore your name.
For a free evaluation, call Stewart Law Group at (602) 548-3400.
Talk with an Experienced Real Estate License Defense Attorney Near You
Whether an informal or formal complaint filed against your real estate license in the state of Arizona, it’s important to speak with a lawyer who has experience in these types of professional license defense cases.
We understand how you feel, many of our clients felt the same way before speaking with one of our attorneys experienced in real estate license defense.
We’ve found that if you do receive notice of a complaint from either ADRE or AZDFI, do not attempt to represent yourself to the Board or the alleged violations.
Remember, even if the concerns are minor and the evidence sparse, the Board’s job is to protect the consumer, not you.
Protect your own interests by hiring an experienced real estate license defense attorney to defend your career and your reputation.
For a free case evaluation, call Stewart Law Group at (602) 548-3400.
Reviews of Our Phoenix AZ Real Estate License Defense Attorneys
“I worked with Colin Bell on a business licensing issue. He was very knowledgeable and extremely helpful dealing with a stressful situation. With Colin’s help, I feel I got the best possible outcome in the situation.”