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The Commission held its regular quarterly business meeting on Monday February 12th during the Texas Association of REALTORS Winter meeting in Austin, and we offered real estate continuing education (CE) hours for attendance, so we had a number of extra license holders join us that day.  The Commissioners re-elected Commissioner Arriaga as Vice-Chair and Commissioner TJ Turner as Secretary for the next 12 months. We appointed an Enforcement Committee (Turner, Arriaga & Leonard); a Budget Committee (Westcott, Stephens & Williams); a liaison to the Inspector Advisory Committee (Arriaga), a liaison to the Education Standards Advisory Committee (Wilkinson) and a representative on the Texas A&M Real Estate Center Advisory Board (Fite Miller). We also appointed a nine-member Broker Responsibility Working Group to be chaired by former Commissioner Bill Jones to examine a variety of current issues, especially dealing with real estate related experience and education equivalencies or substitution alternatives.

We received progress and statistical reports from the Executive Director and other agency directors, as well as some progress and recommendation reports from several standing and advisory committees. We decided three contested license denial cases and approved four claims on the Real Estate Recovery Fund. We advanced the Rule Review process and approved a process for our Agency 5-year Strategic Plan report due to state leaders in June.  We discussed the status of the Long-Term Facilities Master Plan and updated our Investment Policy. We tabled a couple of rule related items that were not ready for advancement and remanded one pending change back to the Inspector Advisory Committee for further work. Two notable substantive items deserve additional explanation.

First, the Commission approved for mandatory use as of May 15, 2018 (and voluntary use prior to that date) revisions to six of our standard contracts as well as two new forms.   The contracts contain many requested edits, including to the Earnest Money delivery text and receipt, added clarity around mineral rights and the “cure period” for objections related to title conditions. Please check our website to read additional information or to download the forms for use. Most contracts writing platform already have integrated the new forms. As always, we encourage you to submit any requested edits to our General Counsel who will ensure they are considered by the hard-working Broker-Lawyer Committee.

Secondly, based on the number of requests received by the Commission form a variety of sources, we reconsidered the impact of disallowing the term “realty” in team names. We directed staff to include on the agenda at our next meeting a rule amendment to remove this item from the list of terms that would imply a team is engaged in brokerage activity independent of their sponsoring brokerage. We also directed staff to accept such names if registered with TREC by a broker on behalf of a sponsored team. The forms to register all names are already available on our website and brokers are encouraged to begin submitting them so that all names are in place before the rule goes into effect on May 15th.    

You are invited to participate in one of our nine Strategic Plan Listening Tour events held around the state and online. We also invite you to be a part of the 2nd Annual Residential Realty Summit in Austin on Monday April 2nd.  Separate articles in this newsletter offers more details, or just go to our website. We really do listen to your inputs as we shape policies for the protection of Texans and promote a healthy market. Our next meeting will be held on Monday May 7th at 10 AM at our offices in Austin. Stop in!