AREC Holds First Meeting of 2023 – Bad E-check Cases Continue
January 24, 2023
The first meeting of 2023 of the Alabama Real Estate Commission (AREC) was held last Thursday. Except for Commissioner Terri May, all commissioners were present. The meeting followed an agenda typical of monthly meetings, with the addition of a vote on two rule amendments and an update on the new license exam changeover. Continue reading for a summary of the meeting.
Hearings – Bad E-checks Continue
Commissioners heard nine formal complaints, two applications for a determination on licensing eligibility, one application for a salesperson’s temporary license and one request for a rehearing. All nine of the formal complaints dealt with bad e-checks, or online payments that failed to go through. This usually occurs when an incorrect bank account number or routing number is typed but, as one case demonstrated, can also occur when the licensee/payee places a stop payment on the unrecognized charge. Not only is this considered a license law violation which goes on the licensee’s record, but it also subjects the licensee to a fee of $30 and usually a fine at the discretion of the Commission, with some licensees receiving fines as high as $500.
If this does happen to you or an agent under you, respond quickly. In one case heard last week, an agent’s online payment of $10 for a license certificate or record failed to go through. The agent did not rectify the payment for several months and only did so after the qualifying broker was contacted. Due to this, the agent was fined $500.
New Licensee Numbers and Exam Provider Update
Licensee numbers continue to increase but at a slower pace. Since the November meeting, 966 temporary or permanent licenses were issued, a per day rate of over 7.5 licenses. This marks a decrease from the per day rate of over 12 in early 2022.
A related update, Commission staff explained how the new exam provider and new exam has impacted the number of new licenses. As reported in September 2022, AREC changed the provider of the license exams, effective January 1, 2023. Corresponding with that change was a different exam structure. So far, these changes have resulted in an increase in the passage rate for first-time salesperson license exam takers and a decrease in the broker’s license passage rate.
Certification of Two Rules on Records for Closing Schools
Commissioners took the last step for finalization of several rule amendments, voting to certify the rules to the Legislative Services Agency (LSA). First reported on in September, the rule amendments are technical in nature, deleting archaic requirements for a school’s records upon school closure.
The Commission will hold its next meetings on February 16 and March 23 at 9 am in Montgomery. Also, the October 2023 meeting was moved to October 26 in Tuscaloosa.