“I view myself as a cop on the beat,” said Real Estate Commissioner Wayne Bell. “Not every violation of the law is equal, not everyone who violates the law is bad, and we cannot treat everyone the same.”
Bell who, on June 5, was the third presenter in OCAR’s 2014 Distinguished Speaker Series, was explaining that the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE), of which he is the chief officer, is bifurcating its activity into enforcement and compliance.
He went on to add, “We need to help those people who become noncompliant because they do not understand the law. We are prioritizing our cases and going after the ‘biggest and baddest’ ones first.”
On February 13, 2013, Jerry Brown appointed Bell to be California’s twenty-third real estate commissioner and to head the new California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) within the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Before this appointment, Bell—who is licensed as both an attorney and a real estate broker—had served as chief counsel and assistant commissioner for legal policy and recovery at the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) and was the DRE’s special liaison to the Department of Justice.
Because of this association, industry watchers believed that Bell would place the new Bureau’s emphasis squarely on enforcement. And Bell seemed to confirm this belief during a Los Angeles appearance not long after his appointment by stating that his goal was to promote a fair, competent, and law-abiding real estate industry in California and that he intended to pursue criminal actions against unlicensed individuals.
But during his June OCAR appearance, a congenial commissioner spoke of “creating a culture of compliance in real estate.” He told REALTORS®, “What you do is hard work. I know that. I am proud to be a commissioner. And I am proud to work with you. Making the industry more professional is the job of all of us.”
Bell also talked about team names, retention of electronic records, employee versus independent contractor status, dual agency, and the Bureau’s Consumer Recovery Account. To learn what he had to say about these and other topics, read the article titled “Real Estate Commissioner Wayne Bell Talks About Team Names, Electronic Communications, and Creating a New Culture of Compliance,” which appears on pages 16–28 in the July 2014 issue of the Orange County REALTOR®.
By Sherri Butterfield