- Where am I to get legal advice?
If you have a real estate related matter, consult your attorney or speak to a licensed Nebraska attorney. You can visit the Nebraska State Bar website at http://www.nebar.com/ or contact the local county bar associations for attorney referral. You may also locate an attorney in the yellow pages of the telephone book under “Attorney-Real Estate Law”
- Can you recommend an attorney?
The Commission cannot recommend legal counsel. You can visit the Nebraska State Bar website at http://www.nebar.com/ or contact the local county bar associations for attorney referral. You may also locate an attorney in the yellow pages of the telephone book under “Attorney-Real Estate Law”
- What does the Commission NOT investigate?
The Real Estate Commission DOES NOT have the authority to investigate allegations made against sellers, homebuilders, title insurance companies, closing or escrow agents, attorneys, home inspectors, lenders, or real estate companies. Below are issues we often receive questions regarding and who you may contact regarding concerns.
- Landlord/tenant disputes – There is no state agency that enforces the landlord / tenant act. Please contact your attorney for assistance.
- Homeowners Association (HOA) violations – We suggest that you seek legal counsel. Visit www.nebar.com/ to find an attorney in Nebraska.
- Loan, Title or Interest Rate problems – Please contact the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance
- Title Insurance issues – Please contact the Nebraska Department of Insurance.
- Homeowner's Insurance – Please contact the Nebraska Department of Insurance.
- Escrow money issues - For the holding or improper payment of escrow money by escrow/title companies, contact the Nebraska Department of Insurance.
- Commission disputes between Licensees – These are civil disputes and you should contact legal counsel.
- Criminal actions (trespassing, assault, theft, etc.) – Contact the local law enforcement agency
- How do I file a complaint with the Commission?
To begin an investigation, the Commission must determine two things:
For instructions on filing a complaint please review the Complaint Instructions our website.
- That the complaint or information relates to possible violations of real estate statutes or rules.
- That the people and/or entities involved are under the Commission's jurisdiction.
Complaints filed with the Commission are required to be in writing and signed before a Notary Public by all named-Complainants. The complaint must allege conduct which violates Commission statutes or rules.
If you file a complaint, include:
- your full name and address and that of each person against whom the complaint is made (the "respondent").
- a clear and concise statement, in detail, describing the facts surrounding the incident(s), including:
- The time and place of occurrences;
- Who was involved or present;
- What activities occurred which you believe to be illegal;
- The names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses.
- legible copies of all transaction documents and related correspondence (contracts, addendums, e-mails, closing documents, letters, memos, etc.).
- After I file a complaint, what is the process?
The complaint is reviewed by The Deputy Director for Enforcement. The Deputy Director for Enforcement sends each licensee involved a copy of the complaint and who must file an Answer to the allegations with the Commission within 20 days of receipt of the complaint. After receipt of the Answer, the complaint is investigated by the Deputy Director for Enforcement who may contact any other witnesses and may contact the complaining person or the respondent for additional information. The investigative finding report is presented to the members of the Commission who must make a determination of probable cause that a violation of law, as alleged by the Complainant, actually occurred. At this point, the Commission may set the complaint for hearing, dismiss the complaint, or file a new complaint against the licensee based upon the investigative findings.
- What are the possible disciplinary actions that may occur?
The Commission can only take action against an individual’s real estate license. The actions may be dismissal, censure, suspension, probation or revocation. Additionally, the Commission may fine licensees up to $2,500.00, and/or order the licensee to take additional continuing education in defiant areas within the scope of the complaint. All disciplinary actions taken by the Commission are permanent and remain on the record of the licensee.
- Can the Commission help me get my money back?
No. The law limits the Commission's authority solely to issues related to the real estate license law. The Commission's investigations do not determine whether a violation of any other area of the law has occurred. For example, the Commission cannot settle such issues as disputes regarding earnest money, repairs to property, or payments of fees to licensees. The law of contracts controls these issues. If the parties cannot resolve such issues themselves, they should consult an attorney or the small claims court of their county for assistance.
Anyone who files a sworn complaint with the Commission and has suffered a financial loss should not wait for the results of a Commission determination before consulting an attorney or the small claims court. The Commission cannot replace a financial loss.
- How long will the investigation take?
It may take several months before the investigative process is completed and the members of the Commission have made a determination of probable cause that a violation of law has occurred.
- Will I be notified of the outcome of the investigation?
Yes. If the Commission sets the Complaint for hearing, the respective parties will be notified of the date, time and location of the hearing. If the Complaint is dismissed by the Commission or settled through a stipulation and consent order, an official Order of Dismissal will be mailed to the respective parties.
- Can I find out who filed the complaint?
Yes. Once a sworn complaint is filed and officially logged in by the Commission Staff, the complaint becomes public record and the Complainant’s name may be revealed.
- Can I have a copy of information about the findings in an investigation?
Under State law and Commission policy, all investigative notes, findings and reports are considered confidential under attorney-client privilege. The only documents considered public record are the Complaint, Respondent’s Answer to the Complaint, and the Commission’s final Order pertaining to the Complaint.
- Am I allowed to be present at the Commission meeting when my case is presented?
Investigative Matters are presented to the Commission under a specific agenda item and are openly discussed under the assigned complaint number only. The names, gender or location of the respective parties to the complaint are never identified to the members of the Commission until after the Commission has made a final determination of probable cause. Commission meetings are open to the public, however, under the Open Meetings Act they may go into closed session at any time.