TREC adopts rule changes, proposes rule revisions

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11/17/2016 | Author: Legal Staff

The Texas Real Estate Commission this week acted on several rule changes the commission proposed at its August meeting.

Unlicensed assistants and open houses
One high profile action concerns TREC Rule 535.5. The previous version of the rule allowed an unlicensed person to act as a host or hostess at an open house.

The commission adopted a change to the rule that deletes this language entirely—there is no longer a provision in TREC rules that authorizes an unlicensed person to act as a host or hostess at an open house. This change will take effect in the coming weeks, 20 days after the date TREC files the rule with the Texas secretary of state.

Unlicensed assistants and “showing” property
In August, TREC proposed changes to rule 535.4 that would define “showing” a property among other rule clarifications. The commission this week made amendments to those proposed changes based on comments received, including comments submitted by TAR.  These amendments include modifying the definition of “show,” deleting the exceptions allowing an unlicensed assistant to show property, and adding language permitting unescorted viewing of a vacant property available for lease, as long as certain methods to control access and verify identity are employed and the property owner consents in writing.

Download this PDF to see the amended version of TREC Rule 535.4. These changes will go through another 30-day comment and review period, which will begin once the rule is published in the Texas Register.

Other actions taken
Proposals from TREC’s August meeting to change sales agent renewal fees, require notification regarding changes to broker supervision, and restrict use of the commission’s seal were all adopted.

Categories: Legal
Tags: trec rules, unlicensed assistant, legal


Michael S. Dougan on 11/21/2016

Mr. Weeks,

We are finally on the same page. You are exactly right. If the agents in Texas have a problem with TREC quit whining and speak up. I talked to an individual last week and they didn’t like the way the election went. I asked who did they vote for and they responded by saying they don’t like the Washington “machine” and don’t ever vote! Yet they go on for 30 minutes complaining.  However, we as individual licensed professionals that have been face to face with TREC in different situations, good and not great, still have the desire to try and change things whatever the subject matter. Democracy and Bureaucracy, clash of the titans. God bless America. Is this still a great country or what? Thank you Mr. Weeks. God bless. Gobble, Gobble

Richard Weeks on 11/21/2016

Mr. Dougan,
Nor is it my intention to get into a spitting contest with you are anyone else on this blog.  For some reason, I thought you had a real estate license and did not realize you were an inspector.
Who among us has ever flown past a highway patrol office going 20-30 miles over the posted speed limit and became angry at the DPS when in fact it is the state legislature who set the legal speed limit?
Same with TREC.  So many agents (I’m not insinuating you are one of them) have such contempt for TREC.  If you think things need to change contact you state representatives.
I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.

Michael Dougan on 11/19/2016

Mr. Weeks,
As a matter of fact I do have a license. I have held an inspectors license since 1986. This is my 31st year to be licensed by TREC. During that time we have performed over 56,000 inspections of ALL types (home, FHA, VA, HUD, radon gas testing, mold inspections, lead base paint testing,  etc. on commercial, residential, multi-family, and industrial properties). As an individual I was the first person to be issued an inspector license and pest control license at the same time by the state of TEXAS 1986. I have personally completed over 60,000 Termite inspections since 1986. I have been a certified FHA,VA,HUD inspector since 1986 by the United States Federal Housing Administration, the Housing and Urban Development, and the Veterans Affairs branches of the federal government. I have held a business license from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Structural Pest Control Board since 1987.  I currently have a Certified Applicators License from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Structural Pest Control Services. My firm is the largest volume inspection firm between Denver and Dallas and one of the oldest inspection firms in Texas.  We are the largest volume Radon Gas Testing firm and the oldest testing firm in Texas. I would go on but hopefully this answers your question respective to my credentials.

Mr. Weeks, I am not wanting to get in a spitting contest with you but am simply trying to enlighten you and others about the power that Texas state agencies have whether it be TREC, TDA,Utility Commission, Railroad Commission, Insurance board, Plumbing Board, etc.,when unchecked and unquestioned. I am in total agreement with you when there are literally tens of thousands of TREC licensees in Texas.  As you say, when the record reflects that only 80 individuals show up to comment on proposed rule adoption then there is something wrong with that scenario. On average 20-25% of those participants were self interest or lobbyists and probably don’t have a license as you suggest.

Mr. Weeks, my legal staff and myself individually have fought for changes over the years when it has come to TREC and SPCB and TDA. We worked hard for the standard inspection forms and again to do away with the 15 page base inspection form in 1996 which was adopted by TREC and overturned in 90 days to the basic form you see today. We worked hard to do away with the TREC adopted rule that said ANY body with 3 years experience in any construction trade could take the state inspector test with out any TREC training.

I have been involved in countless sales transactions including numerous transactions of my own and our subsidiaries and am acutely aware of the good things our state agencies and specifically TREC do and get it right. I am also acutely aware of the things and times when these agencies get it wrong through incomplete research, wrong information, and improper definition of respective terms, protocol, and procedural guidelines respective to subject matter.

And no, I am NOT a lobbyist nor do I represent any special interest group. Myself and my firm along with its subsidiaries and sister companies are just small businesses working hard for our clients and our own people. We totally agree that there are laws in every aspect of today’s society that are good for all and have definitive purposes. We are also aware of the “rules” and laws that are skewed to specifically serve the interest of a small faction of the populist or are just simply adopted rules and laws that are put in place with little or no thought process put into place before being adopted. That is were the input of people affected by the results of these adopted rules is so very important.

Mr. Weeks, myself and my people continue to fight for survival by getting down in the trenches with these state agencies daily and not just when a “meeting” is scheduled. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. At the end of the day we fight for what we think is right no matter the cost.

Hope this gives clarity to some of your thoughts and others involved in these type of discussions.  No body said it would easy but they did promise it would be worth it.

May GOD bless all of our families this holiday and the years to come.

Brad on 11/18/2016

Does the new law also include “realtor open houses”?  The public does not attend these open houses.

Michael Schrantz on 11/18/2016

Hi Clovie,

There is a rule going into effect Jan. 1, 2017, related to non-elective CE courses, but it doesn’t sound like what you were sent is the full rule. Distance learning exams must be proctored by someone at the test site or administered using a computer under conditions that satisfy TREC. So, if approved by TREC, proctoring can be done by computer. If you have more questions about TREC rules, you can call our legal hotline at 800-873-9155.


Michael Schrantz
TAR Social Media Editor

Richard Weeks on 11/18/2016

Misters Hoppenrath and Dougan I will respond to both of your comments.
Mr. Hoppenrath I find it hard to believe you would besmirch the fine staff at TREC or the commissioners. if TREC’s primary interest was to add to the dues pool why would they propose the lowering of sales agents fees?  I hope you know if TREC receives a written signed complaint against an agent they will conduct an investigation?  Have you ever filed a complaint against any of these “worthless agents”?
Mr. Dougan first off do you even have a license?  What is wrong with having an unlicensed assistant that does not perform the duties for which a license is required?  Your comments about buyers not having background checks do not warrant a response.
You both make comments regarding the TREC mission statement which reads:
“Our agency protects consumers of real estate services in Texas by ensuring qualified and ethical service providers through education, licensing, and regulation. We oversee real estate brokerage, appraisal, inspection, home warranty, right-of-way services, and timeshare interest providers, thereby safeguarding the public interest while facilitating economic growth and opportunity across Texas.”
Please explain how their actions contradict this statement?
On September 2, 2016 the proposed changes were published in the Texas Register, and at that time we were given the opportunity to comment on these proposed.  With regards to this particular change less than 80 people commented.  I don’t recall seeing comments from either of you 2 gentlemen.
The commission met on Monday of this week.  Did either of you take the time to attend, watch the proceeding either live or recorded, or even read the agenda?

Michael S. Dougan on 11/17/2016

Mr. Weeks, so if Mrs. Hall does, lets say get her license then who will be her assistant? Then her assistant gets their license, who will be their assistant? You see where this goes?  Are the secretaries and processors in the office going to be next when it comes to being required to have a license? All of our assistants are just that assisting us with getting these deals on to closing while having the seller and buyer nipping at our heals.  And don’t forget about the “deadlines” such as option periods, closing dates, showing times, open house, processing addendum’s, termination letters, loan applications, negotiating repairs, lease signings, the list goes forever. If the “assistant” gets a license then the “assistant” is no longer an assistant. So, if we want a “helper” they invariably have to be “licensed”.

EARL, your more correct than you even know. My firm just spent over 4 years and $96,000.00 in legal fees, fighting TREC on a rule interpretation falling just short of going to the Texas Supreme Court for a rule that never should have been adopted but TREC counsel would NOT address the overlap. These types of rules in this discussion are a perfect example of how TREC spends its days trying to over think and justify its existence.  In recent years TREC is acting in a manner that completely contradicts it’s own “MISSION STATEMENT”. As far as unlicensed “assistants” with no background check….what about the hundreds of unlicensed “buyers” without background checks going through hundreds of occupied properties on any given Sunday afternoon. Who will be next to be licensed?....the surveyors “assistant”, the person holding the tape measure for the appraiser? Their in the house and NOT licensed or back ground checked. Mr. Weeks, you should wake up and smell the coffee. Don’t be naive, this is the bureaucracy at work right before your eyes.  Instead of sarcasm toward Mr. Hall maybe your energies would be better served trying to change the rules or better yet trying keep the rules from becoming rules through your trade association or legislature. At this point it is TREC’s way or the highway if you want to keep your license.  This is just the beginning Trust ME ON THAT! Quit complaining after the rules go into affect and do something before it happens.  I can tell you without reservation that once a rule is adopted….TREC AIN"T GONNA CHANGE IT!!!

Sheryl Galvan on 11/17/2016

About 50% of all changes make no sense at all - so I guess we should not be surprised by this one too!  (Example: cutting the option period off at 5pm - I guess people who work will have to take time off to get this handled if they can’t do it in the first couple of days, or if they travel, or any number of other scenarios - - oh wait - - they have to work in order to qualify for the loan!  I guess everyone gets off BEFORE 5pm, right? Guess someone didn’t think about that when passing that one!  Another example: when real estate agents are required to use an updated form starting on a date that hits on a Sunday and the forms are nowhere to be found on the TAR website or in Zipforms.  Oops!  I guess real estate agents are not supposed to work on the weekend, right?  Or maybe just have to stop working until Monday when the forms appear - - LATE!  I had to have a Client redo a Seller’s Disclosure because of this.  when they asked me why, I told them the truth.  In Defense & Aerospace (my prior industry), if we had operated this way - people would be killed!

Clovie Shannon on 11/17/2016

I just received an email today about Rule 535.65 which states that Real Estate Agents who complete online CE after 1/1/2017must be proctored at an approved testing site while taking their exam.
You did not address this. Is this true?  If so, why did you not address this?

Clovie Shannon

Earl Hoppenrath on 11/17/2016

To Richard Weeks -
Sounds like the position of someone more interested in adding to the dues pool than someone interested in protecting the interests of the public. O sorry, I forgot that’s only the party line not what TREC’s mission really is.

If TREC spent half as much time weeding out the worthless agents (as noted in The Danger Report) as they spend enacting silly regulations, we might see some meaningful change in our industry.

Richard Weeks on 11/17/2016

Mrs. Morrison.  No.  You are comparing apples with beef jerky.  Unlicensed assistants are not finger printed and no back ground check.  The law prevails.

Mrs. Morrison on 11/17/2016

If Doctors and Dentist offices are allowed to have an unlicensed “host” gret their patients, and fill out form stating their health history,  then shouldn’t a Realtor be afforded the same benefit?  Paying her to become licensed will cost more in fees and her compensation. 
None of the support positions in the medical field require linceses except a P.A. or Nurse, etc. who can only perform certain tasks.  So shouldn’t a real estate office be allowed to operate in a similar manner?

Richard Weeks on 11/17/2016

Simon Hall, why not just have her get her real estate license?

Simon Hall on 11/17/2016

I am confused about an unlicensed person and how they are no longer allowed to host open houses. I work large high rise properties and sometimes I have 5 listings in the same building on an open house. I like to have my wife wait in the first unit and greet the open house guests, collect contact info and wait for me to return so I can show them the building and other units. With the removal of this open house provision, am I no longer allowed to have an unlicensed assistant “host” like this? 

Am I violating the rules after this goes into effect? She isn’t conducting any license related duties at all, she hands them a flyer, asks then to sign in,  offers them some snacks and allows them to tour the first property at liesure (it’s usually vacant and staged). Does my wife Need a license to pass out cookies and collect contact information now? She’s definitely hosting. She’s definitely needed and helpful. I don’t think I can do it without her.

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