Real estate brokers and salespeople face disciplinary action by the Nevada Real Estate Commission for such offenses as:
- Obtaining a license by fraudulent means,
- Making a material misrepresentation,
- Gross negligence or incompetence,
- Refusing to sell property to someone due to prejudice, and/or
- Deceitful, fraudulent, or dishonest dealings
The Commission conducts administrative hearings to determine whether an accused broker or salesperson committed misconduct. Potential penalties include:
- a $10,000 fine, and/or
- a suspension, revocation, or limitation the scope of the broker's license
Anyone facing administrative proceedings by the Commission is advised to hire private counsel to conduct their own investigation and represent the licensee at the hearing.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. How does the Nevada Real Estate Commission work?
- 2. Can I apply for a real estate license with a criminal record?
- 3. What triggers disciplinary action against brokers?
- 4. What happens if there is a complaint against me?
- 5. Can I go to jail for brokering without a license?
- 6. Other occupational licenses
The Nevada Real Estate Commission advises the Nevada Real Estate Division, grants licenses to brokers and salespeople, and administers discipline to its licensees. The Commission is comprised of five people appointed by the Nevada Governor...
These five members of the Commission must have been a practicing real estate broker or salesman. Three members must have practiced principally in Clark County, one member must have practiced principally in Washoe County, and the remaining member must have practiced in one of Nevada's rural counties. Members may serve no more than two consecutive three-year terms.1
The Real Estate Commission has the discretion to deny licenses to applicants who have been convicted of either of the following offenses in Nevada or elsewhere:
- obtaining money under false pretenses,
- conspiracy to defraud,
- engaging in a real property business without a license,
- possessing for the purpose of sale any controlled substance, or
- any crime involving moral turpitude (dishonesty, fraud, or violence)
Note that the Commission must deny licenses to applicants convicted of any of the above offenses if less than three (3) years have passed since the case closed.2
Nevada's real estate license application does not mention anything about sealed criminal records, which suggests that applicants do not have to reveal past criminal convictions that have been sealed or expunged. However, applicants are encouraged to consult with an attorney before submitting the paperwork to review the latest laws and regulations.
Ten of the many crimes or types of misconduct that the Real Estate Commission will discipline licensees for are:
- Obtaining a license by fraudulent means, or knowingly submitting any false or fraudulent appraisal to any financial institution or other interested person, or making any material misrepresentation
- Failing to maintain each brokerage agreement and property management agreement, or failing to account for or to remit any money which comes into their possession and which belongs to others
- Failing to balance a trust account monthly and submitting it to the Real Estate Division annually
- Commingling the money or other property of clients with his/her own or converting the money of others to his/her own use
- Illegally and willfully using the name of a real property organization that the licensee does not belong to
- Getting convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, deceit, or misrepresentation, or of a felony related to the licensee's practice, or committing gross negligence, incompetence, or deceitful, fraudulent, or dishonest dealings
- Knowingly permitting any person whose license has been revoked or suspended to act as a real property broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson, with or on behalf of the licensee
- Offering real property for sale or lease without the knowledge and consent of the owner or the owner's authorized agent or on terms other than those authorized by the owner or the owner's authorized agent
- Failure to deliver within a reasonable time a completed copy of any purchase agreement or offer to buy or sell real property to the purchaser or to the seller, or failure to deliver to the seller in each real property transaction (within 10 business days after the transaction is closed) a complete, detailed closing statement
- Refusing because of race, color, national origin, sex, or ethnic group to show, sell, or rent any real property for sale or rent to qualified purchasers or renters
Brokers and salespeople can also be disciplined for not informing the Board if they get convicted of any of the following crimes:
- Any felony relating to the practice of the licensee; or
- Any offense involving fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or moral turpitude.
It makes no difference whether the convictions happened in Nevada or another jurisdiction.3
Anyone in the general public may submit a complaint to the Real Estate Commission against any real property broker or salesperson. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Commission will investigate the matter.
If the Commission determines administrative action may be warranted, the Commission's Administrator will serve on the licensee a formal complaint listing the allegations. The licensee is required to answer the complaint within 30 days. If he/she gives no answer, the Commission can enter a default judgment, which may result in a license suspension, revocation, or other penalties.
4.1. Administrative Hearing
The Commission usually schedules a hearing within 90 days of issuing the complaint. Note that the licensee gets to keep his/her license pending the results of the hearing (in most cases).
The licensee must receive at least 30 days notice of when/where the hearing will be. The Commission must also give the licensee all the communications, reports, affidavits, or depositions relevant to the complaint.
The hearing is essentially an administrative version of a trial. The licensee may have an attorney present to represent him/her and to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.
The Commission has 15 days after the hearing to hand down an informal decision and 60 days after the hearing to give a written notice of the ruling. Possible disciplinary actions include:
- administrative fines of up to $10,000,
- limitation on scope of license
- no new renewals of license,
- license suspension, and/or
- license revocation
Note that these disciplinary actions may take effect no earlier than 31 days after the Commission gives notice of its decision.
If the Commission finds against the licensee, he/she may pursue a judicial review (similar to an appeal) of the decision. Note that licensees who have their licenses revoked are ineligible for another license for at least one year.4
A fine is more likely than jail for a first-time offense. Acting as a real property broker or salesman without a current and valid license by the Nevada Real Estate Commission is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying a penalty of:
- up to $2,000 in fines, and/or
- up to 364 days in jail (at the judge's discretion)
Nevada law levies harsher punishments for obtaining -- or attempting to obtain -- a real property license through intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or fraud. This is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying a penalty of:
- 1 - 4 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)
Predictably, people with past convictions of brokering without a license or falsely obtaining a license are more likely to be denied a real property license in the future.5
Licensed builders risk having their licenses revoked or suspended if they do substandard work or engage in unprofessional conduct or crimes. Learn more in our article on disciplinary proceedings and license revocations for Nevada contractors.
Nurses and nursing assistants are regulated by the Nevada Nursing Board, which adopts regulations, holds hearings, and imposes penalties for misconduct. Learn more about Nevada nursing license revocations and suspensions.
The Nevada Board of Medical Examiners can discipline doctors, physician assistants, and respiratory care specialists when they allegedly commit misconduct or certain crimes. Learn more about Nevada medical license revocations and suspensions.
Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...
Are you at risk of losing your real property license? Phone our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consult. We will walk you through the process of fighting to keep your well-earned license and livelihood.
Facing discipline in California? See our article on California real property licenses and disciplinary actions.
- NRS 645.100; NRS 645.050; NRS 645.060.
- NRS 645.330.
- NRS 645.610 - NRS 645.770.
- NRS 645.990.