Experienced Maryland Real Estate License Attorney
Receiving a notification from a professional licensing board of an upcoming investigation or proceeding can understandably make anyone anxious. Knowing that you are under investigation in Maryland for some kind of alleged professional misconduct is no light matter. In such a daunting circumstance, it is important to retain the legal assistance of a lawyer who focuses on the defense of professional licenses. This is because an experienced Maryland real estate license attorney will understand the seriousness of your situation and have the necessary skills to assist you.
At the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC, we take care and time to understand each unique situation presented by every client and work out a specific plan that is tailored to that client’s needs. We understand what is at stake is not just your license, but also your reputation and your future.
In the world that involves the constant purchase and sale of real estate, an agent’s reputation is his or her lifeline for a long career and financial success. Character of fitness is a concern not only from the Maryland Real Estate Commission, but also for clients. A Maryland real estate professional must also maintain his or her reputation with other agents and brokers in the industry.
Who Regulates Real Estate Licenses in Maryland?
Aside from individual self-discipline, there are several entities that regulate Maryland’s real estate industry. This includes the federal government, the State of Maryland, trade organizations, and even real estate brokers.
It is estimated that as many as 23 different federal laws affect real estate transactions and, in turn, those who hold real estate licenses. Most of these federal regulations specifically relate to how to handle money that is exchanged in a purchase and/or sale of real estate. The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) has tight regulations on the mortgage and settlement process of real estate transactions, including ancillary services such as property appraisals. The most serious ways to violate federal law – from a real estate agent perspective – is to fail to properly disclose lead paint hazards as required by the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act or to discriminate in any manner that runs afoul of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, commonly referred to as the Fair Housing Act.
At the state level, the Maryland Real Estate Commission (MREC) regulates approximately 40,000 active licenses in the State of Maryland. The MREC falls under the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). The MREC and DLLR serve both consumers and licensees conducting business in the real estate industry. The MREC has jurisdiction over real estate agents and other real estate license holders. Consequently, the MREC has the authority to impose fines against agents, as well as to suspend or to revoke licenses and to initiate disciplinary action. Typically, when consumers have a problem with a real estate agent, they initially go to that agent or his or her broker before contacting the MREC.
Real Estate Trade Organizations
Beyond federal and state laws, there are outside trade organizations that have the ability to exert control over the activity of agents. Some of these trade organizations include the National Association of Realtors, Maryland Association of Realtors, and local associations. Most real estate agents are members of these organizations even though they are not required to affiliate themselves with them. If a real estate broker is a member of the organization, the real estate agents associated with the broker must also be a member of the organization. When a licensed professional joins these associations, they agree to abide by the trade organization’s code of ethics. If the code is violated, the real estate professional may be disciplined. Most of these trade organizations either require or offer ethics training as part of the membership.
Real Estate Brokers
Finally, real estate agents are required to be associated with a real estate broker. The MREC has requirements regarding how brokers work with their agents to ensure they are up-to-date on the rules and regulations governing the industry. Brokers must have at least one office meeting with agents every two months, keep track of which agents are showing up to those meetings, and document the material covered during the meetings.
Unique Procedures and Rules
Unlike other industries, the MREC and DLLR have their own set of rules and procedures that govern license and disciplinary actions against licensees in the real estate industry. Therefore, an attorney that is lacking the experience and knowledge of defending professional licenses in the area of real estate will not be able to handle your case properly. At the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC, our lawyers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding the unique procedures involved in the defense of a professional license in real estate. We can help defend your license, your reputation, and your financial future. Someone facing a real estate license investigation or proceeding in Maryland may encounter issues including:
- Ethics violations
- License suspension
- License revocation
- Inquiries to business practices and
- Disciplinary administrative hearings
Skilled real estate license attorneys may be able to resolve a threat of license suspension or revocation of a real estate license with a thorough explanation of what actually happened. Many regulatory agencies are confronted with unfounded accusations or misunderstandings, which can be cleared up with the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Contact a Maryland Real Estate License Attorney Today
As a member of the real estate industry, you understand the importance of following ethics rules when you conduct business because your reputation is the key to your financial livelihood. Whether you are facing a disciplinary hearing or have been put on notice that you are under investigation, the knowledgeable attorneys at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC and its experienced professional licensing legal team can provide you skilled legal representation. Call 410-514-6099 or click here today to schedule an initial consultation with a Maryland real estate license attorney to review your case.