Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated; the authorized fee is only increased contingent on passage of SB765 or similar legislation, which would offset any revenue increases that result from the passage of SB699. If SB 765 does not pass, the fee is not increased.
SB 699 implements a series of changes to Chapter 1101 in the Occupations Code regulating the licensing of real estate agents and brokers.
Most of this legislation clarifies terminology in the current law by conforming it with the Texas Real Estate Commission’s (TREC) practices. For example, throughout the chapter, “sales agent” replaces “salesperson.”
The bill grants TREC with new and modified changes to its authority. For instance, one section allows the commission to determine its actual and necessary expenses that are eligible for reimbursement. Another section allows the commission to require the number of classroom hours for continuing education. The authority of the commission to determine the content of real estate courses remains, but with slight modifications.
Other changes include the fees TREC may implement. While most of the commission’s authority for issuing certain fees remains, this bill prevents charging annual renewal fees for broker licenses, sales agent licenses, and easement or right-of-way agent licenses. The commission would still be able to charge a fee for these licenses, just not annually. Lastly, the legislation would allow quasi-judicial immunity for commission members. In other words, commission members would be legally immune from lawsuits regarding certain actions they have taken as a member of the commission.
The legislation authorizes an additional fee of $70 for brokers. It is in addition to the normal broker licensing fee, however the added fee will go toward funding the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University.
SB 699 would implement some changes to the issuance of licenses. For example, a two year waiting period to reapply would now be required for licenses that are revoked or denied.Finally, this bill would make changes to the handling of the Real Estate Recovery Trust Fund (RERTF). For example, a business entity and the broker of that entity would become a single license holder. Specifically, a claim against a business entity is a claim against the broker as well, which means that both the business entity and the broker are liable together. A claimant is eligible for receiving compensation from the RERTF since the broker would now be liable for claims against a business entity that he or she brokers.
No changes have been made to this legislation in the House committee. The House chamber sponsor is Representative Kuempel.
First chamber recommendation:
SB 669 is largely (but not entirely) an administrative measure modifying existing authorities within the Texas Real Estate Commission.
TREC issues several different occupational licenses and we applaud the fact that this legislation does not give them new licensing authority which we would oppose. Likewise, although we do not favor authorizing additional fees the one new fee this bill provides authority for would be contingent upon the enactment of SB 765 or a similarly comparable bill that would lower other fees first before this prospective new fee could be implemented.
The major substantive change that we oppose in this bill is the two year period a person would be required to wait before being allowed to apply for the reinstatement of a revoked license. This seems arbitrary and capricious and infringes on the free market participation of real estate agents in their chosen profession. For these reasons we oppose the adoption of SB 699.