compliance: Cal Property Managers are you ready for trust fund audit? - 10/28/17 01:43 PM
I know, you are probably TIRED of hearing about another blog on real estate COMPLIANCE but this is an extremely important topic that most brokers are not even aware of, but the California Bureau of Real Estate (“BRE”), soon to go back to the “Department of Real Estate” name, is out in full force handling audits throughout the State of California through its four office locations (San Diego, Fresno, Los Angeles, and Oakland).  What does this mean for the California property manager?   It means you better be ready to “show your books” as we are seeing a major crack down on … (3 comments)

compliance: California BRE lawyer shares property management audit tips - 08/08/17 12:53 PM
Open Season for CalBRE property management audits?
Hi again everybody, Attorney Steve® here with some 2017 real estate updates.  Based on the number of phone calls I have been receiving lately from California real estate brokers and salespersons, it appears to be "open season" on real estate brokers, in particular, property management companies. Some of the things I believe are triggering audits are:
1. Property managers who post real estate listings for rentals on Craigslist and other websites that DO NOT have their broker license identification numbers.
2. Complaint filed with the BRE (either relating to short sales transactions, sales transations, or property management issues … (1 comments)

compliance: CalBRE Broker Office Survey - what's this? - 07/20/17 09:41 PM
2017 CalBRE real estate updates from Attorney Steve®
Our firm has helped numerous real estate companies across the state of California in a wide variety of BRE compliance issues.  From advanced fee agreements, to statement of issues response, to defending in BRE audits, investigations and accusations.  Recently, it has come to our attention that more brokers are receiving “broker office survey” letters which come across as very informal but which could pack a serious compliance punch.  This blog talks about these letters and what you should do when you receive a letter.
What does the audit  letter say?
The letter may come from an … (1 comments)

compliance: Autodesk compliance for Architects: the home backup copy - 02/09/17 06:47 PM
Autodesk License Compliance Lawyer discusses the Home User License
This blog is general legal information only and is written by Software Piracy & Compliance Attorney Steve Vondran, Esq. 
Are you complying with Autodesk License Terms by installing a backup copy of Autocad or Revit on your home computer?  Well, you always need to make sure you are checking the terms of your END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT which tells you what you can and cannot do.  However, luckily they do have a program whereby, assuming you meet certain conditions and criteria, you can install a copy of the software you are using at your … (0 comments)

compliance: Autodesk audits for real estate architects! - 02/19/15 11:11 AM
Copyright infringement risk management for Architechts

Click the picture above to watch our software compliance video.
Autodesk Licensing Audit Tips by Attorney Steve
If you are a real estate architect this blog is for you.  There are a lot of small archtecture firms that use Autodesk Software.  Autodesk is one of the most popular pieces of software for architects designing both residential and commecial projects.  When you use their software, there is one thing that is clear - YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE ALL YOUR SOFTWARE IS PROPERLY LICENSED so that you do not face a BSA software audit. … (0 comments)

compliance: VIDEO: Does calling expired listings violate federal Do Not Call law? - 08/14/14 03:34 PM
Federal do not call list overview by Attorney Steve, the Real Estate Lawyer.
I had a California real estate broker ask me several months ago if he was okay just calling expired listings, or if there was a DO NOT CALL list violation for something like that.  Rather than bore you with a big long blog (yeah, I know you are supposed to write a 1,000 words or more to get picked up by google SEO), I figured I would link you to a three part video series I did on this topic.  Sure it won't make the front page … (4 comments)

compliance: How to avoid a BRE audit in five easy steps - 08/06/14 01:51 PM

Attorney Steve's top five tips to avoid a real estate audit by the BRE
This article is a general legal overview of a few tips I have encountered over the years to help real estate brokers protect themselves and avoid a BRE audit.  Basically, the BRE (Bureau of Real Estate) will respond to complaints against real estate licensees and they may call you up and want to ask you a few questions.  Oftentimes it is in regard to a single transaction.  Other times, there is a disgruntled ex-employee that has an axe to grind that reports some type of wrongdoing … (1 comments)

compliance: Is your real estate business card compliant with California laws? - 05/10/14 05:14 AM

Attorney Steve's BRE Compliance Best Practices
In law it is always the little things that matter most.  In this case, it is the business cards (and other solicitation materials) and your real estate license number under the microscope.
Is your real estate business card compliant with the real estate law and the real estate commissioner's rules and regulations?  This is an area many brokers probably take for granted and think "aw, this is no big deal, it's just a business card."
It is true that it is just a business card, but it is also a BRE legal compliance issue.

compliance: Important Alert about the broker's duty to supervise rule 2725 - 05/08/13 04:04 PM

Are you ready to go from Real Estate Broker to Real Estate salespersons because you don't fully understand the duty to supervise?
This is an important notice about something that I know everyone already knows, but may not truly understand.  This article is based on things that I seen in my practice and that I am learning right now regarding how the California Department of Real Estate views the broker's duty of supervison versus how some brokers see it, and deal with it.  As a licensed real estate broker myself (I practiced real estate before becoming a … (0 comments)

compliance: Bureau of Real Estate commissioner Wayne Bell appointed by governor - 03/04/13 01:34 AM
  The Governor of California Jerry Brown has appointed a new real estate commissioner.  His name is Mr. Wayne Bell.   The former real estate commissioner, Mr. Davi, resigned his post.   Welcome to the post Mr. Bell.   Here is a brief overview of what we were able to learn about BRE real estate Commissioner Bell:   -worked in various positions at Ralphs Grocery Store   - was a deputy secretary and general counsel at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency   - was a special counsel and director of home ownership at the California Housing Finance Agency   - … (2 comments)

compliance: Ten most common violations found in DRE audits - 12/27/12 03:05 PM
Hi everyone, for most of you this blog is nothing but a refresher course.  For some of you, there might be some good information here.  Wishing everyone success in 2013.  It's going to be a very big year!


compliance: DRE commissioner's regulation 2773 are you complying? - 10/29/12 03:15 PM
Just a quick reminder to catch our internet radio show tomorrow - The Vondran Legal Hour - where we will be discussing regulation 2773 and a general overview of the requirements for real estate licensees.  If you have not heard about the law, it was passed in 2009, and requires real estate licensees to disclosure their real estate license number on certain print advertising.  I have seen a general lack of compliance on this so just thought I would touch on the topic briefly.
You can access the link to the DRE Advertising Regulation 2773 show here.

compliance: DRE has "clear and convincing" standard in accusation hearings - 10/28/12 11:11 AM

An interesting real estate license discipline case came down from the California Court of Appeals involving Grubb Company, inc. ("Grubb") and one of their real estate licensees.
Case Summary
The Grubb Company, Inc v. California Department of Real Estate, 194 Cal.App.4th 1494 (2011). This is an interesting case wherein Grubb, by and through one of its real estate agents ("Paul") undertook a dual agency position in a real estate transaction.  In the case, (Grubb and Paul - collectively "Grubb") represented two sellers of a particular property and after entering into the listing agreement, there was information provided to Grubb from the … (2 comments)

compliance: DRE real estate broker escrows may require escrow activity report - 07/22/12 03:14 PM
California Business and Professions Code Section 10141.6
There is a new law in California starting July 1, 2012 that applies to all California real estate brokers who conduct real estate escrow activities in California and meet the escrow threshold.  
Brokers who are exempt from the Escrow Law (California Financial Code Section 17006) and engage in broker escrows amounting to five or more transactions in a calendar year or whose escrow activities are $1 million or more in a calendar year meet the escrow threshold and must, under the new law, file an annual report with the California Department of Real … (0 comments)

compliance: California SB 510 allows DRE brokers to appoint branch managers - 07/22/12 02:15 PM
For those who have not heard of this by now, there is a new law (California Sentate Bill 510 which adds sections 10164 and 10165 to the Business and Professions code in California) which allows a California real estate broker to appoint a real estate licensee to be a branch office or division manager.  There are limitations as to who can become a branch manager.  For example, you cannot appoint a real estate licensee to be a branhc manager if:
(1) the licensee has a restricted license;
(2) the licensee has been the subject of a bar order;



The California Department of Real Estate (“DRE”) is charged with enforcing the California real estate law and commission regulations.  They do this is DRE hearings, audits, and investigations, including issuing bar orders and desist and refrain orders.
The department has always had the power to charge real estate licensees with the costs of an audit where a violation of the trust accounting rules have been uncovered (i.e. for violations of California Business and Professions Code Section 10145), but the power to seek funds from the licensee also extends to violations that don’t involve violations of 10145 accounting rules.  Here is what … (0 comments)

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Steve Vondran

IP & Real Estate Lawyer

Newport Beach, CA

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