BILL NUMBER: AB 278	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Hill

                        FEBRUARY 8, 2011

   An act to add Sections 10088 and 10089 to the Business and
Professions Code, relating to real estate.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 278, as introduced, Hill. Department of Real Estate:
administrative fines.
   The Real Estate Law provides for the regulation and licensure of
real estate brokers and real estate salespersons by the Real Estate
Commissioner. Existing law authorizes the commissioner, upon his or
her own motion, and requires the commissioner, upon the verified
complaint in writing of any person, to investigate the actions of a
real estate licensee who has engaged in specified acts. If the
commissioner finds that a licensee has committed those acts, existing
law authorizes the commissioner to suspend or revoke a licensee's
real estate license or to, instead, impose specified monetary
penalties, which are required to be credited to the Recovery Account
in the Real Estate Fund.
   This bill would authorize the commissioner to adopt regulations
that establish a system for the issuance of citations to licensees
who are in violation of the Real Estate Law or any regulation adopted
thereunder. The bill would require citations to be in writing, to
indicate the provisions of law violated by a licensee, and to inform
a licensee that the licensee may request a hearing to contest the
citation. The bill would authorize citations to include an order of
abatement or an order to pay an administrative fine of up to $1,000.
The bill would authorize the commissioner to take disciplinary action
against a licensee who fails to pay a fine within 30 days of
assessment of the fine, as specified. The bill would also authorize
the commissioner to adopt regulations to establish a similar system
for the issuance of administrative citations to unlicensed persons
acting in the capacity of a licensee. The bill would require any
fines collected pursuant to these provisions to be credited to the
Recovery Account and made available for specified purposes upon
appropriation by the Legislature.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  Section 10088 is added to the Business and Professions
Code, to read:
   10088.  (a) The commissioner may adopt regulations that establish
a system for the issuance of, and, except with respect to violations
that have resulted in serious financial loss to a member of the
public, may issue, citations to licensees who are in violation of
this part or any regulation adopted pursuant to this part. A citation
may contain an order of abatement or an order to pay an
administrative fine.
   (b) The system for the issuance of citations shall satisfy all of
the following:
   (1) Citations shall be in writing and describe with particularity
the nature of the violation, including specific reference to the
provision of law determined to have been violated.
   (2) Whenever appropriate, the citation shall contain an order of
abatement fixing a reasonable time for abatement of the violation.
   (3) In no event shall the administrative fine assessed by the
department exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each inspection
or each investigation made with respect to the violation. In
assessing a fine, the commissioner shall give due consideration to
the appropriateness of the amount of the fine with respect to factors
such as the gravity of the violation, the good faith of the
licensee, and the history of previous violations.
   (4) A citation or fine assessment issued pursuant to a citation
shall inform the licensee that if the licensee desires a hearing to
contest the finding of a violation, that hearing may be requested by
written notice to the commissioner within 30 days of the date of
issuance of the citation or assessment. If a hearing is not requested
pursuant to this section, payment of any fine shall not constitute
an admission of the violation charged, and the payment shall not be
reported in the department's real estate bulletin. Hearings shall be
held pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1
of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
   (5) Failure of a licensee to pay a fine within 30 days of the date
of assessment, unless the citation is being appealed, may result in
disciplinary action being taken by the commissioner. Where a citation
is not contested and a fine is not paid, the full amount of the
assessed fine shall be added to the fee for renewal of the license. A
license shall not be renewed without payment of the renewal fee and
fine.
   (c) The system for the issuance of citations may contain the
following provisions:
   (1) A citation may be issued without the assessment of an
administrative fine.
   (2) Assessment of an administrative fine may be limited to only
particular violations of this part.
   (3) Notice may be given to a broker when a citation is issued to
any salesperson or broker associate employed by the broker.
   (d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a fine is paid
to satisfy an assessment based on the finding of a violation, payment
of the fine shall be represented as satisfactory resolution of the
matter for purposes of public disclosure.
   (e) Administrative fines collected pursuant to this section shall
be credited to the Recovery Account of the Real Estate Fund and
shall, upon appropriation by the Legislature, be available for
expenditure for the purposes specified in Chapter 6.5 (commencing
with Section 10470).
   (f) The establishment of an administrative citation system
pursuant to this section does not preclude the use of other
disciplinary authority of the commissioner.
  SEC. 2.  Section 10089 is added to the Business and Professions
Code, to read:
   10089.  The commissioner may, in addition to the administrative
citation system authorized by Section 10088, adopt regulations to
establish a similar system for the issuance of an administrative
citation to an unlicensed person acting in the capacity of a
licensee. The administrative citation system authorized by this
section shall meet the requirements of Section 10088 and may not be
applied to an unlicensed person otherwise exempted from the
provisions of this part. The establishment of an administrative
citation system for unlicensed activity does not preclude the use of
other disciplinary authority of the commissioner for unlicensed
activities.