About the Department

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The California Legislature enacted the nation's first real estate license law in 1917. Providing for the licensing and regulation of real estate licensees, this law continues to serve as a model for similar legislation in many other states. The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) continues to enjoy a nationwide reputation as a leader in real estate licensing and regulation.


The revenue necessary to operate the DRE is derived from fees charged for real estate licenses, subdivision public reports, and various other permits issued by the Department. Employees operating from District Offices in five cities (Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Diego) carry out the Department's responsibilities as mandated by the Real Estate Law and the Subdivided Lands Law.

The Commissioner

The Real Estate Commissioner is appointed by the Governor, and serves as the chief executive of the Department of Real Estate.

The Commissioner's Role

To facilitate the administration and enforcement of the Real Estate Law and the Subdivided Lands Law, the Commissioner is empowered by law to issue regulations. Known as the Regulations of the Real Estate Commissioner, these have the force and effect of law.

In enforcing the provisions of the Real Estate Law, the Commissioner has the authority, if supported by the evidence obtained, to hold formal hearings to decide issues involving a licensee or a license applicant. Such hearings may result in the suspension, revocation or denial of a real estate license. The Commissioner also has the authority to issue Desist and Refrain Orders to stop activities which are in violation of the Real Estate Law or the Subdivided Lands Law.

It is the Commissioner's responsibility to enforce these laws in a manner which achieves maximum protection for real estate consumers. In administering the laws and regulations, the Commissioner exercises judgment impartially, with fairness to both the consumer and the industry.

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