The DRE Broker Office Survey – Is my brokerage ready?

What is the DRE Broker Office Survey?

The DRE Broker Office Survey (BOS) is a review of the way in which the broker operates its brokerage. It looks into the types of activities that the broker conducts. It takes a close look at whether or not the broker is doing those activities correctly and in compliance with California real estate law. Since a broker can receive a request to schedule BOS with little notice, it is essential to be prepared at all times.

The DRE may also ask to sample some files pertaining to the broker activity related to property management work. If the broker happens to do broker escrow, similar questions may come up.

Other questions may include:

  • Is the licensing correct?
  • Has the brokerage reported all necessary information to the DRE (and is it up to date)?
  • Is the brokerage compliant with advertising laws? This also includes any advertising that the agents that work under the brokerage do.
  • How is the brokerage supervised?

How often is the survey conducted?

The DRE Broker Survey continues to be conducted on a random basis. However, a request to conduct a Broker Office Survey generally arises from a complaint – either from an unhappy client or a competitor.  A complaint can pertain to the responsible broker  or someone working under the broker’s license.  In either scenario, the DRE has the authority to assign an investigator to conduct a Broker Office Survey as part of an overall investigation process.

How do brokerages stay in compliance?

Generally, a brokerage should seek advice from an attorney experienced with DRE laws and regulations to make sure they are operating in compliance with the Real Estate Law and the Regulations of the Real Estate Commissioner.  The compliance review is something that should be proactive rather than reactive – do not wait until you receive a complaint.  This routine maintenance is the same as maintaining your home or your vehicle – you do it for peace of mind and to avoid having small problems turn into big problems.

What happens if the brokerage is found in violation?

If the BOS results in finding violations, it could lead to the DRE taking action. There could be a low level of action requiring nothing more than proof of correction.

However, if there are significant violations, the DRE may file an accusation against the broker. This can result in the discipline of the broker’s license. In very extreme cases, the broker may even lose their license – if the violations indicate actual harm to consumers.  AN EXAMPLE OF ACTUAL HARM: egregious mishandling of client trust funds.

Where will any notice(s) be sent prior to the BOS?

Generally, the broker will receive a letter at their business address. However, there are occasions when DRE will simply call the broker to schedule an appointment.

How to take action

The Broker Office Survey is the number one method used by the DRE to look for brokers who are not in compliance with The Real Estate Law and the Regulations of the Real Estate Commissioner. It’s recommended that you:

  1. Find out what you need to know now
  2. Learn how to achieve compliance and offer your broker services with confidence

Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn how you can keep your brokerage in good standing.