7 Tips to Avoid the Most Common TREC Violations

Texas Real Estate Commission's Standards and Enforcement Services is frequently asked about common violations and how to stay out of trouble. The agency regularly disciplines license holders for violations in the following areas. Here's what you should know to avoid trouble.

Supervise your sales agents. It is not a defense to broker supervision (Rule 535.2) to say you don’t supervise your sales agents. In other words, saying, “I didn’t know about it,” is sometimes more of an admission than a defense.

Register assumed business names and team names before using them in advertisements. Brokers register these names by using TREC’s Notice Of Assumed Business Name (DBA) For A Broker’s License (TREC DBA-3) and Notice of Team Name for a Broker’s License (TREC TN-0). The broker must also notify TREC not later than the 10th day after the date the broker or sales agent stops using the assumed business or team name.

Be sure you have a separate license for a separate legal entity like an LLC or a corporation; registering doesn’t work for that. A legal entity such as an LLC or a corporation that conducts real estate brokerage must have a separate broker’s license–this includes the entity’s receipt of payment of a commission or other compensation. It isn’t enough that you have an individual license, and “registering” a separate legal entity with TREC doesn’t work, either. (That only works for an assumed name.)

Cooperate with an investigation. Not responding to a TREC investigator’s request for an interview or documents is usually a violation.

Tell TREC in writing within 30 days of final entry of your felony or fraud conviction, guilty plea, or nolo contendere plea. Failure to comply with this results in a penalty.

Be careful about conducting property management. Make sure you are well-trained and supervised in this area. Over 10% of the agency’s real estate brokerage complaints relate to property management. A broker is responsible for any property management activity by the broker’s sponsored sales agent that requires a real estate license.

Be nice. Customer service works wonders. Once TREC has a complaint, it may notice something the customer or client didn’t even complain about. The best defense is that the agency never hears about the issue because you already took care of it.

TREC enforcement and disciplinary actions are available on its website.