An Odd Year

by James L. Goldsmith
January 2022

If the title is catchy, so be it. But this article is not about strange times. Actually, this article has everything to do with 2022 being an even year. And that means it is license renewal time. 

In about 4 months the calls will begin. Some of you reading this, and many more who are not, will need help because licenses were not renewed for one reason or another. Practicing on an expired license is the unlicensed practice of real estate and can result in fines. It can also result in a cessation of your practice while you run the bureaucratic maze seeking to have your expired license renewed. This article is a reminder to get it done, get it right and avoid these problems altogether.

Begin now by creating automated reminders; use whatever tickler system you prefer. If you are a broker/manager, it is also the time to send reminders to all of your affiliated licensees. Better yet, require that all of these folk submit copies of their applications or provide you with other written verification that their applications have been submitted. Advise that those who have not timely submitted their renewal applications will be barred practicing and will receive no commissions for licensed activities performed during the period of their non-licensure. Brokers can earn fines and black marks on their records for failing to supervise and that includes failing to supervise the licensing process. 

Don’t wait until the last minute.  No explanation needed.

Again, make use of your tickler system to set reminders for post May 2022 reminding you to verify whether your license, and those of your affiliates, have been renewed. If a license has not been renewed, make a written inquiry in any way you can and save a copy of that inquiry for your records.

Even if you’ve done everything properly but you did not receive your license (and with the last-minute influx of renewal applications and the uncertainty of the PALs system there will be problems) you can be held to account. You have a duty to assure that your license is renewed and should you fail to follow up there will be the likelihood of penalties. If you can establish that you were diligent in your follow-up, it is more likely that any unlicensed activity shortly following May 31 will be forgiven. 

Licensees, keep your broker in the loop. This will be to your advantage should your license not be renewed, and the Commonwealth takes you to task. Brokers, check records for renewal as often as possible and assure that any licensing issues are corrected, or at least sufficiently addressed. You will want to demonstrate a good faith, diligent effort.

All of the above is also a guide to use when a licensee is transferring affiliation. It happens all of the time: the transferring agent begins to list and sell for the new broker, yet the records reveal a continued affiliation with the prior broker. Don’t let this happen.

Follow through is critical. Don’t let the Commonwealth catch you!  It’s far better to discover licensure issues yourself.  It demonstrates what the Commonwealth expects and that is diligence on your part. 

Happy New Year and best to you all.

Mr. Goldsmith is an attorney with Mette, Evans & Woodside and serves as outside legal counsel to PAR. A substantial portion of his practice is dedicated to providing advice and counsel to real estate licensees. He and his firm represent and defend real estate salespersons and brokers in civil lawsuits and licensing claims across the Commonwealth. Jim also defends Realtors® in disciplinary hearings conducted by the Real Estate Commission. Jim was one of the voices of the PAR Legal Hotline for the first 27 years following its inception in 1992.

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