Real Estate Commission Holds First Meeting of 2021

Real Estate Commission Holds First Meeting of 2021

On January 21, the Alabama Real Estate Commission (AREC) held its first meeting of 2021. With one vacant seat, the eight remaining Commissioners all participated either in person or virtually. At the meeting, the Commission considered the normal slate of matters, as well as a recommendation on licensee deadlines and a real estate agent’s request for a declaratory ruling.

Assistant Executive Director Teresa Hoffman gave the Executive Director’s Report and Financial Review. According to Hoffman, AREC is in good shape financially, with COVID-19 grant funds helping AREC accommodate pandemic-specific needs, such as additional technology for remote work and virtual meetings. Hoffman also indicated that staff will be monitoring the sunset renewal bill for AREC when the 2021 Legislative Session begins on February 2. For your information, every one-to-four years AREC and other similar agencies are reviewed by the legislature’s Sunset Committee, which makes recommendations on changes and whether to renew the agency for one to four years. The resulting recommendations and renewal are encapsulated in a sunset bill, which comes up this year for AREC. As it currently reads, the sunset bill to be considered by the legislature this year will renew AREC for two years.

For those aspiring to obtain a real estate license, the Commission decided to extend license examination deadlines on a case-by-case basis when medical needs prevent a deadline from being met. This extension is targeted at those who are unable to meet deadlines due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. Applications for an extension must be accompanied by documentation from a medical provider detailing the medical reason for the extension.

The Commission had a full agenda of hearings with four formal complaints, an application for the determination of licensing eligibility, a request for approval to hold a license after previously revoked, seven applications for a salesperson’s temporary license, a request for an extension to apply for a salesperson license, and a request for a declaratory ruling. By statute, the Commission can receive requests for and issue declaratory rulings, which are generally requests by licensees on how a specific statute or regulation applies to the licensee requesting the ruling.

The request at issue did not specify a statute but dealt with whether license law in general allowed certain referral fees between a mortgage broker and a licensee, who worked for subsidiary companies of the same parent company. The Commission discussed the request briefly but did not make a ruling. By law, the Commission has 45 days after a declaratory ruling request to issue a ruling, so the Commission can take the matter back up at the February meeting. Failure to rule acts as a denial of the request.

The Commission meets next in Montgomery on February 18 at 9 am. Virtual participation only by the public is expected to continue.