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Arizona Real Estate Commissioner: Duties & Powers

Instructor: Racquel Fulton
Arizona's real estate law was enacted to protect the public but the law can't enforce itself. That's the job of the real estate commissioner. Learn about the duties and powers of the Arizona state real estate commissioner.

Who is the Commissioner?

When you become a real estate professional there will be many authorities whose rules you will have to follow, from the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Although all authorities are important in Arizona, it's the real estate commissioner who has the most power over what you can and cannot do. The commissioner's job is to protect the public by enforcing the state's real estate law.

However, before the commissioner can enforce rules for you, they have to follow a few rules as well. The commissioner is appointed by the governor and is required to have at least five years of experience in real estate or a related field such as mortgage banking. The commissioner must also have three years of experience in an administrative position. The commissioner's appointment ends whenever the governor decides. The governor also appoints 10 advisory board members to help the commissioner make decisions. All but two board members must also have experience in the real estate industry. Board members are appointed for six years and provide the governor with a yearly report on the commissioner's performance.

Duties of the Commissioner

The commissioner performs their duties by overseeing the Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE). ADRE is a government office that administers the state's real estate law under the commissioner's direction.

One of the primary ways the commissioner directs ADRE is through the enforcement of licensing. A license is required whenever someone offers the following services to the public:

  • Marketing homes for sale
  • Managing rental properties
  • Soliciting buyers and sellers
  • Advertising apartments for rent
  • Negotiating the sale of real estate

If you want to perform these services or represent someone in a real estate transaction, you will need one of the following licenses:

  • Real estate salesperson

A salesperson is authorized to negotiate the sale of real estate on behalf of someone else but must work under the supervision of a broker.

  • Real estate broker

A broker has the authority to open a real estate business and employ salespersons.

  • Real estate entity

A business that employs real estate salespersons and brokers is required to have a real estate brokerage license.

In addition to real estate licenses the commissioner also enforces the licensing of people who sell cemetery plots and campground memberships.

The licensing division reviews, approves and denies applications. All salespersons and brokers must meet the eligibility and education requirements.The commissioner enforces education standards through ADRE's education division. Pre-licensing education is required to become licensed and continuing education (CE) is required to remain licensed. The education division reviews and approves schools, instructors and courses. Approved courses are designed to teach the real estate law.

To ensure that the public is also educated about Arizona's real estate law, the commissioner manages an education fund. Money from the fund is used to hold workshops, distribute pamphlets and guides. The public learns what to expect when working with a licensed professional and how to file a complaint if they have a dispute. A complaint is a written description detailing an alleged violation of the law.

As an example:

Chris, a real estate broker, is helping his client Mary buy a house. Mary gives Chris a deposit and signs an offer to buy a home. Chris tells Mary that the offer was not accepted and that her deposit is non-refundable. Mary believes that Chris never presented her offer and has kept her money. So, Mary files a complaint.

The commissioner has the authority to investigate Mary's complaint.

Powers of the Commissioner

The commissioner has the power to investigate all complaints against someone licensed by ADRE. The commissioner can also investigate without a complaint if a licensed professional is suspected of violating the real estate law. The auditing and investigation division within ADRE investigates on the commissioner's behalf. In Mary's case the division will determine if there is a violation. If a violation is discovered the complaint is forwarded to the enforcement and compliance division.

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