The Subjects of TREC Complaints

TREC received over 1000 complaints related to brokers and sales agents in Fiscal Year 2014 (September 2013 through August 2014). Based on data tracked from fiscal year 2014, as well as staff impressions, here is what they see:  About 22 percent of complaints relate to leasing and property management (mostly the latter):  Leasing/Property Management – Misappropriation, includes misappropriation, commingling, and failure to properly account for money  Leasing/Property Management – Other, includes general negligence, referrals, etc.  Abouu 8 percent of complaints relate to advertising  About 8 percent of complaints relate to unlicensed activity  About 6 percent of complaints relate to licensure issues such as criminal background history, application disapprovals, probationary licenses, etc.  About 6 percent of complaints relate to broker supervision, which is a broker’s failure to supervise sponsored salespersons  About 5 percent of complaints relate to a breach of fiduciary duty, which includes false promises  About 5 percent of complaints relate to TREC administrative actions such as bad checks to the agency, or a license holder’s failure to cooperate or to provide current contact information, etc.   And about 33 percent of complaints are in the miscellaneous category of “Sales – Other”, which includes general negligence, rebates, improper referrals, and earnest money issues  What else?  TREC receivers a number of complaints related to a license holder’s actions as a principal in a transaction (about 3 percent), failure to disclose (about 2 percent), intermediary/IABS violations (about 1.5 percent), improper form usage (about half a percent), and sales misappropriation (about half a percent).

TREC receives a large number of inquiries related to advertising, but not  a large percentage of signed complaints on that issue. Because TREC DOES NOT accept anonymous complaints and typically cannot conduct a covert investigation, it is very limited in what it can do with an unsigned complaint. In addition, TREC frequently enforce issues arising out of criminal background checks on renewals when the license holder fails to timely disclose a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal offense involving a felony or fraud (under “licensure issues” above). Another area where TREC frequently find violations is a broker’s failure to register the broker’s or salesperson’s dba or assumed name with TREC (under “administrative” above).