Chapter 520-1 LICENSURE AND BROKERAGE
|(1)||Location of Offices. The public may obtain information regarding the operation of the Commission or make submissions to the Commission by addressing inquiries to the Georgia Real Estate Commission, Suite 1000 - International Tower, 229 Peachtree Street, N. E., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1605.|
|(2)||Election of Chair. At the regularly scheduled first monthly meeting of the calendar year, the Commission shall select from its members the chair. An election of the chair may also occur at such time as the chair may vacate that position or at such time as the number of members which constitutes a quorum may call for a new election. Such election shall be by secret ballot with all eligible members listed on the first ballot and balloting continuing until a member obtains a majority of the votes cast.|
|(3)||Election of Vice Chair. At its regularly scheduled first monthly meeting of the calendar year, the Commission shall select from its members the vice-chair. An election of the vice-chair may also occur at such time as the vice-chair may vacate that position or at such time as the number of members which constitutes a quorum may call for a new election. Such election shall be by secret ballot with all members listed on the first ballot and balloting continuing until a member obtains a majority of the votes cast. The vice-chair shall preside in the absence of the chairperson and perform such other duties as may be assigned by the chair.|
|(4)||Appearances before the Commission. Except as may otherwise be provided for in the contested cases in Chapter 520-4 Procedural Rules and in the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act, all requests for appearances before the Commission shall be governed by the provisions of this paragraph. All requests for scheduled appearances before the Commission shall be submitted in writing to the Real Estate Commissioner at the address listed in paragraph (1) above. The Real Estate Commissioner shall schedule an appearance at the Commission's regular monthly meeting for the first three persons or groups submitting a written request to the Commission offices during regular business hours on or before the first day of the month preceding the monthly meeting at which such person or group desires to be heard. Any person not scheduled to be heard by the Commission who desires to be heard may, at the discretion of the Commission, be allowed to appear before the Commission at the end of its scheduled business at any monthly meeting. Except by leave of the Commission, all scheduled appearances before the Commission shall be limited to fifteen minutes and all unscheduled appearances before the Commission shall be limited to five minutes.|
|(5)||Amendments to Rules. Any interested person may petition the Commission requesting the promulgation, amendment, or repeal of a rule. Such petition shall be in writing and the signature of the petitioner notarized. Within thirty (30) days after submission of a petition, the Commission either shall deny the petition in writing stating its reasons for denial or shall instigate rule-making procedures in accordance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.|
|(6)||Declaratory Rulings. The Commission shall supply declaratory rulings as to the applicability of any statutory provision or of any of its rules. Requests for declaratory rulings must be in writing and the signature of the petitioner notarized. The Commission shall respond to a request for a declaratory ruling within sixty (60) days of its receipt of said request except when the Commission feels it would be in the best interest of the Commission to seek the opinion of the Attorney General. Nothing in this paragraph shall limit or impair the right of the Commission to seek the opinion of the Attorney General on any question of law connected with the duties of the Commission. The Commission shall not render a declaratory ruling on petitions on matters related to investigative hearings pending before it at the time of the petition. See also O.C.G.A. § 43-40-2 and Rules 520-4.|
|(1)||Terms Defined by 43-40-1. As used in this Chapter and Chapters 520-2 and 520-3, the terms "associate broker," "broker," "commission," "commissioner," "community association," "community association management services," "community association manager," "licensee," "person," "property management services," "purchaser," "real estate," and "salesperson" have the same definitions as provided for in O.C.G.A. Section 43-40-1.|
|(2)|| Other Terms. As used in this Chapter and
Chapters 520-2 and 520-3, the term:
|(1)||Certifications of License History. Upon written request the Commission shall provide a certification of the history of a licensee's records with the Commission only for the five years immediately preceding the written request. However, regardless of the date of occurrence, the Commission shall provide a certification of any records it maintains of any disciplinary sanctions taken against the license of any licensee. Whenever the certification is to be utilized in a court of law, the party making the written request for the certification shall also indicate the name of the case, its case number, and the name of the court in which the certification will be used.|
Maintenance of Records. The Commission shall maintain investigative
files under the following schedules:
|(3)|| Return of Wall Certificate and
Pocket Card Surrender, Suspension, or Revocation of License. Upon
surrendering a license or upon notice of suspension or revocation of a license,
a licensee shall forward the licensee's wall certificate of licensure and
pocket card at once to the Commission. If such license is that of a broker,
such broker shall also forward to the Commission with the broker's wall
certificate of licensure and pocket card all other licensees' wall certificates
of licensure and pocket cards in the broker's possession or office and shall be
responsible for all missing wall certificates of licensure of other licensees
affiliate d with the broker's firm. No refund of fees will be made upon any
license when surrendered, suspended, or revoked. Any licensee who surrenders a
license to the Commission or whose license is revoked by the Commission and who
later seeks reinstatement of that license must apply for licensure as an
see also O.C.G.A. § 43-40-2 & 43-40-14.
|(1)||Fees. Whenever an individual
applicant activates an original license, that applicant shall pay an activation
fee and a renewal fee which shall cover all fees due the Commission until the
applicant's month of birth in the fourth calendar year following the calendar
year in which the license was activated. Whenever a firm applicant activates an
original license, that firm shall pay an activation fee and a renewal fee which
shall cover all fees due the Commission until the month of the fourth
anniversary of the activation of a license by the firm.
|(2)||Required Experience for Brokers
for licensure, for renewal of license, for transfer of license, for any change
in status of a license, and for any change in the name of a firm required to be
filed with the Commission, must be on Commission approved forms. Each
Commission approved form may require the email address of an applicant and his
or her affiliated firm (s), if an email address is maintained by such applicant
or firm. Changes in other information required to be filed with the Commission
such as changes in trust accounts, address changes, email address changes and
individuals' name changes may be done by letter or email.
|(6)||Name of Firm on Application.
|(7)||Criminal History Report. No
more than 60 days prior to making application, each candidate for licensure or
applicant for a license or an instructor approval shall obtain, at the expense
of the candidate for licensure or applicant, and attach to the application for
licensure or approval:
|(8)||Applicants with Convictions.
Whenever a candidate for licensure or an applicant reveals that such candidate
or applicant for licensure has a criminal conviction, as that term is defined
in O.C.G.A. Section
and whenever any licensee is convicted of any offense that the licensee is
required to report to the Commission, such candidate for licensure, applicant,
or licensee must supply to the Commission a certified copy of:
with Disciplinary Actions. Whenever a candidate for licensure or an
applicant reveals that such candidate or applicant for licensure, has been the
subject of a disciplinary action before any licensing agency, and whenever any
licensee has been the subject of a disciplinary action before any licensing
agency that the licensee is required to report to the Commission, such
candidate for licensure, applicant, or licensee must supply the Commission with
a certified copy of:
|(10)||Incomplete Applications. The Commission, in its discretion, may deem an application for licensure as incomplete unless the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) are met and may elect not to process such an application unless and until those requirements are met.|
Decisions for Candidates for Licensure Having Convictions or Disciplinary
Actions. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section
provides in part that the Commission may deny a license to an applicant who has
a prior criminal conviction(s) or a disciplinary action(s) imposed by any
occupational licensing body. An applicant for licensure is a person who has met
all experience, education, and examination requirements for the license sought.
Because of the time and expense involved in becoming an applicant for
licensure, the Commission affords an individual who has not yet become an
applicant the opportunity to request that the Commission make a preliminary
decision on the conviction(s) or the prior disciplinary action(s) before the
individual takes the required education and examination for license. The
purpose of a preliminary decision is merely to provide advisory guidance.
Preliminary decisions are not binding. However, the Commission may elect to
allow a favorable preliminary decision to become its final decision without
further investigation or hearing when the individual becomes an applicant for
|(12)||Request for hearing
after Commission Denies an Application. If the Commission denies an
application for licensure or reinstatement of licensure after an applicant has
met the age, education, and examination requirements as described in O.C.G.A.
and the Rules and Regulations of the Commission and has paid all required fees
for the license, that applicant may request a formal hearing concerning that
denial. The applicant must make that request in writing to the Real Estate
Commission within sixty (60) days of the Commission's mailing notice to the
applicant to the address on the application that the Commission has reviewed
the applicant's application and voted to deny the application.
|(13)||Military Spouses and Transitioning Service Member Applications. Effective July 1, 2017, military spouses and transitioning service members may qualify for expedited processing of any license application submitted to the Commission by showing that the applicant is a military spouse or transitioning service member and that the applicant has paid the fee and meets the requirements for a license under the law and rules for the type of license for which the applicant has applied.|
|(1)||Required Education. O.C.G.A.
that each salesperson must furnish to the Commission within one year of the
issuance of an original salesperson's license evidence of satisfactory
completion of a post-license course of study of at least 25 instructional hours
(other than the Salespersons Prelicense Course or Brokers Prelicense Course)
approved by the Commission. Salespersons must have completed such course:
|(2)||Active or Inactive License.
|(3)||Renewals. Unless renewal
fees are paid, all licenses issued under the provisions of paragraph (1) of
this Rule will lapse:
|(4)||Reinstatement of Lapsed
of Legal Action and Change of Address.
|(7)||Retention of Certificate
of Licensure. Upon making such request in writing to the
Commission, any licensee who retires after twenty years of active licensure or the family of any licensee who is deceased shall be allowed to retain the licensee's wall certificate of licensure and pocket card for non-brokerage purposes.
|(3)|| Fidelity Bond or Insurance
Required for Community Association Management. Any broker who provides
community association management services as defined in O.C.G.A. Section
and who collects, maintains, controls, has access to, or disburses community
association funds shall be covered at all times under a fidelity bond or
fidelity insurance policy that complies with the requirements of paragraph (a)
below unless such broker at no time collects, maintains, controls, has access
to, or disburses community association funds totaling more than $60,000.00;
|(4)|| Disclosure of
|(1)||Name of Firm. A broker shall not conduct business under any name other than the one in which the broker's license is issued.|
|(2)||Responsibilities of Brokers or Qualifying Brokers.
|(3)||Change of Qualifying Broker.
|(4)||Qualifying Brokers Affiliated with Multiple Firms.
|(5)||Transferring Licensees Into or Out
of a Firm.
|(6)|| Utilizing Support Personnel - Task
|(7)||Sharing Commissions with Non-Resident Brokers. A licensed broker in this state is hereby permitted to divide or share a real estate commission with a licensed broker in another state. If a broker licensed in another licensing jurisdiction refers prospective clients or customers to a Georgia broker, the Georgia broker may pay a fee to such licensed broker. Such brokers who refer prospective clients or customers to a Georgia broker may not perform any of the other acts of a broker with regard to property located in this state unless they first obtain a nonresident's license or enter into a written agreement with a Georgia broker as permitted by O.C.G.A. Section 43-40-9.|
|(1)||The Designated Trust or Escrow
|(4)||Trust Accounts for Property
Management or Association Management. Brokers who manage real property
or community associations may maintain designated rental or assessment trust or
escrow accounts separate from their other trust or escrow accounts.
|(5)||Examination of Trust Accounts by
the Commission. O.C.G.A. Section
provides that each broker required to maintain a designated trust or escrow
account shall authorize the Commission to have that designated trust or escrow
account(s) examined by a duly authorized representative of the Commission
during each renewal period or at such other time as the Commission may direct
upon reasonable cause.
of Trust Accounts. A broker required to maintain a trust or escrow
account shall cause to be made, at least monthly, a written reconciliation
statement comparing the broker's total trust liability with the reconciled
financial institution balance(s) of the broker's trust account(s). The broker's
trust liability is the sum total of all deposits received, required by contract
to deposit, and being held by the broker at any point in time.
Trust Account Examination. When renewing a broker's license, a broker
shall submit, along with the renewal application:
Funds in a Trust Account. Whenever a real estate licensee believes that
a person who placed trust funds in the licensee's care has abandoned those
funds, the licensee may not disburse those funds from a trust account unless:
|(9)||Trust Account Requirements for Non-Broker Licensee Owned Property. O.C.G.A. Section 43-40-20(h)authorizes a non-broker licensee to open a trust account for the deposit of trust funds received on properties the non-broker licensee owns if the broker holding the non-broker licensee's license approves the opening of such an account and if the non-broker licensee provides the broker with regular reports accounting for the funds in such an account. The Commission shall deem a property "owned by a licensee" if the deed for such property reflects either (a) only the name of the licensee or (b) only the name of a business entity of which the licensee is the sole owner, member, or stockholder. Whenever a licensee (a) owns any interest in a property that is less than one hundred percent and (b) receives any trust funds on such property, such licensee must deposit those trust funds into the trust account of a firm licensed under this chapter.|
|(2)||Misleading Advertising. Any advertising that is misleading or inaccurate in any material fact or in any way misrepresents any real estate is prohibited. Whenever a licensee becomes aware that a principal with whom the licensee's firm has a brokerage engagement is advertising to sell, buy, rent, lease, or exchange real estate in such a manner that is inconsistent with this rule, the licensee must immediately take steps to stop the advertising until it complies with this rule.|
|(2.1)||Advertising by Affiliated Licensees. All advertising by associate brokers, salespersons, and community association managers must be under the direct supervision of their broker and in the name of their firm.|
|(3)||Written Permission to Advertise. A licensee shall not advertise any real estate for sale, rent, lease, or exchange unless the licensee has first secured the written permission of the owner, the owner's authorized agent, or the owner of a leasehold estate. When such permission is granted, a licensee advertising real estate that is listed with another firm shall clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact and the name of the listing firm unless the listing firm has expressly agreed in writing to waive those clear and conspicuous disclosures.|
|(4)||Discriminatory Advertising Prohibited. A licensee shall not advertise to sell, buy, exchange, rent, or lease real estate when such advertisement is directed at or referred to persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. The contents of any advertisement must be confined to information relative to the real estate itself, and any advertisement that is directed at or referred to persons of any particular race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin is prohibited.|
Internet Advertising. In addition to the unfair trade practices found in
O.C.G.A. § 43-40-25(b)(1),(2),(11),(12)
and (21) or any other requirements found in
this Rule, any advertising on the Internet by a licensee of real estate for
sale, rent, lease, or exchange shall disclose the name and telephone number of
the licensee's firm on every viewable web page of a website except as herein
|(6)|| Trade Names and Franchise
Names. For purposes of this rule the term trade name shall include trade
mark and service mark; and the term advertising shall include, but is not
limited to, advertising done by others on behalf of the licensee.
|(7)|| Firm Names and Telephone Numbers
in Advertising. In advertising specific real estate for sale, rent, or
exchange in any media:
|(8)|| Licensees Advertising as
Principals. A licensee shall not advertise to sell, buy, exchange, rent,
or lease real estate in a manner indicating that the offer to sell, buy,
exchange, rent, or lease such real estate is being made by a private party not
licensed by the Commission.
Every associate broker, salesperson, and community association manager is prohibited from advertising under the licensee's individual name to buy any real estate or offer for sale, rent, or lease any real estate. All advertising by associate brokers, salespersons, and community association managers must be under the direct supervision of their broker and in the name of their firm. However, when a licensee wishes to advertise real estate owned by the licensee and which is not under a brokerage engagement, the licensee may do so provided:
|(9)||Licensees Advertising Approved Schools. A licensee shall not advertise that such licensee offers, sponsors, or conducts Commission approved courses or that such licensee offers, sponsors, or conducts Commission approved courses in conjunction with an approved school or other approved organization unless the licensee is approved by the Commission to offer such courses.|
|(10)||Notwithstanding any other provision of this Rule, a licensee shall make every reasonable attempt in advertising to assure the public knows that they are being contacted by a licensee.|
|(1)||PresentingOffers. A licensee shall promptly tender to any customer or client any signed offer to purchase, sell, lease, or exchange property made to such client or customer. In a transaction in which the offeror is not a client or customer of the licensee, the licensee receiving an offer must provide a copy of the offer to the licensee working with or representing the offeree. However, a licensee who obtains an offer may negotiate a sale, exchange, or lease directly with an owner, a lessor, a purchaser, or a tenant if the licensee who obtains the offer knows that such offeree has a written outstanding agreement in connection with such property that expressly provides the other licensee will not provide negotiation services to the offeree.|
|(2)||License Numbers in Offers. A licensee preparing or signing a brokerage engagement or an offer to purchase, sell, lease, or exchange real property shall include the license number issued by the Commission of each firm and of each licensee participating in the transaction. The licensee shall include the six digit license number issued by the Commission.|
|(3)||Responsibility to Distribute Copies. A licensee shall provide a copy of any document utilized in a real estate transaction to any individual signing such document. If any offer to purchase, sell, lease, or exchange is accepted and signed by all parties, copies of that document shall be properly distributed, one to each person signing the document and one to each brokerage firm involved in the transaction.|
|(4)||Retention of Copies of Records and
Documents. Copies of sales contracts, brokerage engagements, closing
statements, leases, and other documents related to a real estate transaction
required by law to be maintained in a broker's file for three years shall be
made available to authorized agents of the Commission upon reasonable request
and at a reasonable cost to the Commission. Brokers that must keep copies of
the documents cited in this paragraph include:
Transaction Documents and Misleading Representations Prohibited. No
licensee shall falsify or be a party to the falsification of a document
involved in a real estate transaction or knowingly represent, either verbally
or in writing, to a principal or any interested third party:
|(6)|| Disclosure of Commissions, Fees,
Rebates, or Other Valuable Consideration.
|(1)||Written Notification to Broker. No licensee shall be permitted to list, sell, buy, exchange, rent, lease, or option or offer to list, sell, buy, exchange, rent, lease, or option real estate, either in individual or multiple parcels, in the licensee's own name or in the name of any other firm or entity in which the licensee is an officer, employee, beneficiary, or member of such firm or other entity acting as principal without first advising, in writing, the broker for whom the real estate licensee is acting.|
|(2)||Offers to Buy Associated with a Brokerage Relationship. Whenever a licensee offers to purchase a property as a condition to obtaining a brokerage engagement to sell, lease, or exchange or on which the licensee is extending the expiration date of an existing brokerage engagement, the licensee must enter into a written contract to purchase which expresses all the terms and conditions of the licensee's purchase prior to or at the time of entering into the proposed brokerage engagement or into the extension of the existing brokerage engagement. Whenever a licensee offers to purchase a property in order to enable a party to purchase, sell, lease, or exchange another property, the licensee must enter into a written contract to purchase which expresses all the terms and conditions of the licensee's purchase prior to or at the time of the other party's entering into a contract to purchase, sell, lease, or exchange the new property.|
|(3)||Licensees Advertising as Principals. Licensees advertising to buy, sell, or exchange real property for their own accounts must comply with the advertising requirements of Rule 520-1-.09.|
Unless otherwise excepted from licensure requirements by O.C.G.A. Section 43-40-29, a person who brokers the sale of a business must hold an appropriate license issued by the Commission if the sale of the business involves the transfer of any interest (including, but not limited to, leasehold or ownership interest) in real property. A business broker and any of the business broker's associates who do not hold licenses issued by the Commission may not negotiate or attempt to negotiate or assist in procuring prospects for the sale of a business where:
|(a)||that sale involves the transfer of any interest in real property, or|
|(b)|| where the payment of all or part of a
commission or fee to the business broker or any of the business broker's
associates in the sale of a business is contingent upon the transfer of an
interest in real estate.
An unlicensed broker may not perform or attempt to perform the acts in the preceding sentence and then secure a person licensed by the Commission to approve that transaction.
No licensee or agent or employee of a licensee shall represent, explicitly or
implicitly, for the purpose of inducing or discouraging the purchase, sale, or
rental of any real property or the listing for purchase, sale, or rental of any
|(2)|| Discrimination Prohibited.
No licensee or employee or agent of any licensee shall:
|(1)||Imposition of Penalties. Whenever the Commission determines from the evidence gathered in an investigation that a licensee has violated one or more of the provisions of O.C.G.A. Chapter 43-40 or the rules and regulations adopted by the Commission or has committed an unfair trade practice, the Commission, in its discretion, may (a) initiate the process for the imposition of sanctions in accordance with the hearing procedures established for contested cases by Chapter 13 of Title 50; or (b) issue a citation to the licensee in lieu of initiating the process for the imposition of sanctions. A citation issued by the Commission may include an order to complete a course of study in real estate brokerage or instruction; to file periodic reports by an independent accountant on a real estate broker's designated trust account; and/or to pay a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 for each violation, with fines for multiple violations limited to $5,000.00 in any one citation.|
|(2)||Approved Education. The Commission may elect to require successful completion of approved continuing education or post license education courses in addition to or in lieu of the financial penalties cited in paragraph (3) below.|
|(3)||Schedule of Violations and
Penalties. Violation of the following rules, regulations, and unfair
trade practices may become the basis for the issuance of a citation. While the
Commission may determine that circumstances warrant the imposition of a lesser
penalty, the monetary penalties prescribed constitute the maximum penalty for a
single violation of the cited rule, regulation, or unfair trade practice. In
the event of any conflict between the description of a violation in the
schedule below and the language in the code section or rule, the language in
the code section or rule shall control.
|(4)||Consent in lieu of Citation. In lieu of imposing a citation upon a licensee, the Commission in its discretion may offer the licensee the opportunity to consent to completing a course of study, to submit periodic reports on a designated trust account, to paying a fine, or some combination of these or other penalties.|
|(5)||Effective Date of Citation.
When the Commission issues a citation on its own motion, the order in the
citation shall become final when 30 days have passed since the date of service
of the citation upon the licensee either personally or by certified mail or
statutory overnight delivery unless prior to that time:
|(6)||Service of Citation. Service of the final order in a citation shall be by personal delivery or by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the last address provided to the Commission by the broker or in the case of a community association manager, salesperson, or associate broker, the last address provided to the Commission by the broker with whom the community association manager's, salesperson's, or associate broker's license is affiliated or in the case of an inactive licensee, at the last address provided to the Commission by the inactive licensee or in the case of an approved school or instructor, the last address provided to the Commission by the approved school or instructor. Service upon a licensee's, approved school's, or approved instructor's attorney shall be deemed service upon the licensee, school, or instructor.|
|(7)||Citation in lieu of Contested Case. After initiating a contested case action, the Commission, in its discretion and with the consent of the licensee, may elect to dismiss the contested case action and issue a citation.|
|(8)||Sanction for Failure to Comply with Order. The Commission may impose sanctions on the license of a licensee who fails to comply with the terms of a final order in a citation after giving notice to the licensee and the opportunity for a hearing.|
|(9)||Citations and Subsequent Disciplinary Actions. In imposing a disciplinary action on a licensee's license in a contested case, the Commission shall not consider prior citations if the licensee has fully complied with the terms of those citations.|