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Consumer Information

Frequently Asked Questions

The Idaho Real Estate Commission regulates real estate brokerage activity and real estate licensees in the State of Idaho. The Commission’s jurisdiction extends only to potential disciplinary actions involving violations of the Idaho Real Estate License Law and Administrative Rules (Idaho Code Title 54, Chapter 20 and IDAPA 33, Title 1, Chapter 1).

The Commission investigates complaints against licensees involving:

                Advertising Violations,

                Agency Violations,

                Dishonest or Dishonorable Dealings,

                Failure to Account for Money or Property,

                Failure to Complete Continuing Education,

                Failure to Disclose Adverse Material Facts,

                Failure to Maintain Errors & Omissions Insurance,

                Failure to Present Offers,

                Interference with Real Estate Brokerage Agreements,

                Licensees Convicted of Felonies and Qualifying Misdemeanors,

                Misrepresentation,

                Reckless Conduct,

                Trust Account Violations,

                Unlicensed Practice,

and other violations of the Idaho License Law.

The Commission is not empowered to enforce, modify, rescind or cancel listing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, or any other contract; compel the payment of money, award damages, or render a judgement in your favor; order the return of earnest money; settle real estate commission fee disputes; or decide violations of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

The Idaho Real Estate Commission does NOT regulate or have the authority to investigate:

  • Commission Disputes
    • Rule 300 states: The Idaho Real Estate Commission shall not be involved in the resolution of disputes between licensees or between licensees and buyers and sellers concerning matters of commissions or fees.
    • Commission disputes are civil matters. The Idaho State Bar can help you find an attorney.
  • Contractors or Construction Defects
  • Contractual Disputes
    • Contractual disputes are civil matters. The Commission is not empowered to enforce, interpret, modify, rescind, or cancel contracts. The Idaho State Bar can help you find an attorney.
  • Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) Violations
    • Violations of CC&Rs are civil matters. Contact your HOA or legal counsel.  The Idaho State Bar can help you find an attorney.
  • Criminal Actions
    • Contact local law enforcement.
  • Discrimination/Violations of the Fair Housing Act.
  • Earnest Money Disputes
    • Disputes over earnest money are civil matters. The Commission is not empowered to decide earnest money disputes or order the release of earnest money. The Idaho State Bar can help you find an attorney.
  • Escrow Companies
  • Ethics Violations
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) Violations
    • These are civil matters. Contact your HOA or legal counsel. The Idaho State Bar can help you find an attorney.
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Home Warranty Companies
  • Mortgage Lenders
  • Property Management Disputes
  • Title Insurance

Under “Agency Representation” (sometimes referred to as “Single Agency”), you are a Client and the licensee is your Agent who represents you, and only you, in your real estate transaction. The entire brokerage is obligated to promote your best interests. No licensee in the brokerage is allowed to represent the other party to the transaction.

  • If you are a seller, your Agent will seek a buyer to purchase your property at a price and under terms and conditions acceptable to you and assist with your negotiations. If you request it in writing, your Agent will seek reasonable proof of a prospective purchaser’s financial ability to complete your transaction.
  • If you are a buyer, your Agent will seek a property for you to purchase at an acceptable price and terms and assist with your negotiations. Your Agent will also advise you to consult with appropriate professionals, such as inspectors, attorneys, and tax advisors. If disclosed to all parties in writing, a brokerage may also represent other buyers who wish to make offers on the same property you are interested in purchasing.

“Limited Dual Agency” means the brokerage and its licensees represent both the buyer and the seller as Clients in the same transaction. The brokerage must have both the buyer’s and seller’s consent to represent both parties under Limited Dual Agency. You might choose Limited Dual Agency because you want to purchase a property listed by the same brokerage, or because the same brokerage knows of a buyer for your property. There are two kinds of Limited Dual Agency:

  • Without Assigned Agents; The brokerage and its licensees are Agents for both Clients equally and cannot advocate on behalf of one client over the other. None of the licensees at the brokerage can disclose confidential client information about either Client. The brokerage must otherwise promote the non-conflicting interests of both Clients, perform the terms of the Buyer and Seller Representation Agreements with skill and care, and other duties required by law.
  • With Assigned Agents; The Designated Broker may assign individual licensees within the brokerage (“Assigned Agents”) to act solely on behalf of each Client. An assigned Agent has a duty to promote the Client’s best interests, even if your interests conflict with the interests of the other Client, including negotiating a price. An Assigned Agent must maintain the Client’s confidential information. The Designated Broker is always a Limited Dual Agent for both Clients and ensures the Assigned Agents fulfill their duties to their respective clients.

The Commission’s Agency Disclosure Brochure contains more information.

Consumers can utilize the Commission’s License Lookup application to ensure an agent or brokerage are licensed to practice real estate in Idaho. Additionally, consumers can see any formal disciplinary actions taken against an agent within the last five years.

A Verified Complaint form is available on the Idaho Real Estate Commission’s website. This form should be filled out in its entirety and a detailed narrative included with the complaint. Any supporting documents should also be included with the complaint as well as contact information for the person filing the complaint. You may wish to contact the Idaho Real Estate Commission prior to filing your complaint should you have any questions.

Please note: The Idaho Real Estate Commission regulates real estate brokerage activity and real estate licensees in the State of Idaho. The Commission’s jurisdiction extends only to potential disciplinary actions involving violations of the Idaho Real Estate License Law and Administrative Rules (Idaho Code Title 54, Chapter 20 and IDAPA 33, Title 1, Chapter 1).

The Commission is not empowered to enforce, interpret, modify, rescind or cancel listing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, or any other contract; compel the payment of money, award damages, or render a judgement in your favor; order the return of earnest money; settle real estate commission fee disputes; or decide violations of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

Consumer complaints alleging licensee misconduct must be submitted in writing to the Commission. Complaint allegations that, if true, would constitute a violation of the License Laws, will be investigated by Commission Staff (“Staff”). The Staff may also initiate an investigation upon information received by the Executive Director. The fact that Staff is conducting an investigation does not mean that Staff is seeking to take action against a licensee. The Staff will pursue disciplinary action only if warranted by the facts revealed through the completed investigation, and even then, only after the Commission members have determined that such facts are sufficient to support the filing of an Administrative Complaint. In the event the facts are determined to be insufficient, the Staff will issue a letter of “no action” and matter will be closed.

In general, the Staff employs the following procedures when conducting an investigation:

At the onset of the investigation, the Commission investigator writes to the licensee being investigated, informing him or her of the complaint or information received, and requesting that the licensee respond to the allegations in writing. In addition, the licensee may be asked to provide a written response to specific questions posed by the investigator, or to provide documents or other information. After receiving the licensee’s written responses, the investigator may request a meeting with the licensee and may direct the licensee to bring additional documents. Typically, the documents requested are those related to a real estate transaction and are normally kept in the licensee’s office. In some instances, it may be necessary for the investigator to remove original documents to another location for copying. Where this occurs, the licensee may request a receipt describing the originals taken and indicating when they will be returned.

Once the investigation is completed, the results and any recommendations are forwarded to the Executive Director for a decision on how to proceed. Based upon the results of the investigation, the Executive Director may decide to (1) conclude the matter at that point, by either closing the case and issuing a “no action” letter, or by issuing an informal Staff Letter of Reprimand; (2) request additional information; or (3) pursue disciplinary action against the licensee. Prior to pursuing disciplinary action, the Executive Director will submit to the Commission (i.e., the five members comprising the agency head) a written report containing a summary of the relevant facts determined through the investigation, and a summary of the alleged violations of law. This report will not contain the parties’ names, locations or other identifying information.

The Commission will review the report to determine whether the facts are sufficient to pursue an action against the licensee. If the Commission determines that the facts are insufficient, no disciplinary action will be taken. The complainant and the responding licensee will be notified in writing of this “no action” determination.

If, however, the Commission determines the facts in the report are sufficient to proceed with a formal disciplinary action, the Commission will authorize the Staff to pursue formal disciplinary proceedings. In that event, the licensee will receive a written notice from the Staff summarizing the facts revealed by the investigation and the violations that the Staff believes occurred and that it can prove. Within the letter the Staff will provide the licensee the option to informally resolve the matter through stipulation, without the commencement of formal administrative proceedings. The letter will also describe the licensee’s right to formal hearing. The licensee will be given a set period of time within which to advise the Staff on how he or she desires to proceed.

At any time during the investigation or hearing process of the Commission, a licensee may seek legal advice from an attorney. The Commission strongly recommends that a licensee consult with an attorney upon receipt of any notice indicating that disciplinary action is being pursued.

The Commission’s Complaint Procedure Flow Chart and Investigate & Hearing Process Brochure contain additional information. To learn more about Idaho’s Real Estate Recovery Fund, click here.

  • How long will an investigation into my complaint take?
    • The complaint process can take as few as 30 days to well over a year, depending on the complexity of the investigation, the violations, and any formal hearings that may follow the investigation.
  • Will my complaint remain confidential?
    • Subject to certain limitations most investigative records are available by public record request. You should assume that all documents and information included with your complaint will be available for public inspection.
  • A recent trend in real estate transactions involves hackers attempting to divert payments meant for the settlement agent to their own accounts by providing last minute wiring instructions different than those provided by the settlement agent or your real estate agent. The FBI has estimated these scams led to a loss of nearly $1 billion in 2017.

    To learn more, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and read about Mortgage Closing Scams.

Helpful Links

 

Homebuyer Resources

Homebuyer Education information from the Idaho Department of Finance.

Homebuyer Education information from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Idaho Property Condition Disclosure Act

 

Idaho Real Estate Commission Information

Idaho Real Estate Commission Agency Disclosure Brochure

Idaho Real Estate Commission Complaint Process Flow Chart

Idaho Real Estate Commission Disclaimer on Legal Advice

Idaho Real Estate Commission Forms

Idaho Real Estate Commission Guidelines

Idaho Real Estate Commission Investigative Process

Idaho Real Estate Commission License Law Rules

Idaho Real Estate Commission License Lookup

Idaho Real Estate Commission Public Records Request

Idaho Real Estate Commission Real Estate Recovery Fund

Idaho Real Estate License Law

 

Property Management Resources

Guidelines for Tenants and Landlords from the Office of the Attorney General.

 

Other Organizations

Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) National License Database

Idaho REALTORS®

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

 

Other Regulatory Agencies

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licensing

Idaho Department of Finance

Idaho Department of Insurance

Idaho State Bar

Idaho State Tax Commission

Office of the Attorney General

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