The DRE has initiated the Enforcement Advocacy Program which attempts to resolve simple disputes or minor issues between consumers and licensees or subdividers as a potential alternative to setting up formal investigations into such matters. The program includes advocates from the Enforcement, Subdivisions, and Mortgage Loan Activities sections.
The mission of the Advocacy Program is to respond quickly and informally to concerns of consumers and members of the real estate industry by serving as an informal mediator or facilitator to resolve conflicts and/ or to mitigate or prevent Real Estate Law violations. Over the last 7 months, the program has proven effective in resolving disputes, and in reducing workloads by addressing issues up front as opposed to at the conclusion of a lengthy investigative process.
Many of the issues that advocates work to resolve involve a breakdown in communication between licensees and their principals. It is important to note that, in many of these instances, advocates endeavor to reestablish and facilitate communication, thus solving the issue. The types of cases that have been handled through the Advocacy Program have included small monetary disputes where there did not appear to be a violation of the Real Estate Law. Examples of issues that have been handled through the Advocacy Program are as follows:
- Consumers who needed copies of their documents and had been unable to secure a response.
- Consumers who needed assistance in contacting their agent or broker on a current transaction.
- Consumers who needed information that they had not been able to obtain from their agent for escrow, lenders, or inspectors.
- Consumers questioning commission demands by agents (inside and outside of escrow).
- Consumers trying to cancel transactions or loans.
- Consumers who wanted to know where their earnest money was.
- Consumers who were asked to sign documents or do something they did not understand or did not feel is appropriate.
- Consumers having difficulty with a subdivider.
- Consumers having homeowner association issues while DRE still has jurisdiction over a subdivider.
- Consumers having timeshare operators.
- Trouble with tenants who were being evicted following foreclosure without being provided the appropriate 90-day notice period.
- Short sale where one of the agents involved were demanding terms or provisions that were questionable or potentially unlawful. While the DRE cannot interfere with an ongoing transaction, we can place a call to the licensee to discuss possible consequences of proceeding.
- Licensees questioning whether offers have been presented to sellers, or to lenders in REO transactions.
- Consumers requesting return of illegally-collected advance fee payments.
Advocacy Program Contacts
- Fresno: (559) 445-5009
- Los Angeles: (213) 576-6967 or (213) 576-6885
- Oakland: (510) 622-2525
- Sacramento: (916) 227-0864
- San Diego: (619) 525-4255
Mortgage Loan Activities Unit
- (916) 227-0770
- Subdivisions Northern Region: (916) 227-0820
- Subdivisions Southern Region: (213) 576-6927
It is important to note that the DRE may not have the remedies and ability to compel cooperation. All the same, we have experienced a great amount of cooperation from licensees when working to resolve simple disputes. If the Advocacy Program can be of service to you, please do not hesitate to contact an advocacy deputy in the district office nearest to you.