A growing issue for appraisers in Ohio is complaints being filed against them through the Ohio Department of Commerce- Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing (the “Division”). The Division also oversees real estate brokers and salespeople. Section 4763 of the Ohio Revised Code governs Real Estate appraisers and Section 4735 governs Real Estate Brokers and Salespeople.
Section 4763.11(G) provides that the board is to take disciplinary action for certain violations. It states that the board shall take any disciplinary action authorized by the section against a certificate holder, registrant, or licensee who is found to have committed any of the following acts, omissions, or violations during the appraiser’s certification, registration, or licensure:
(1) Procuring or attempting to procure a certificate, registration, or license pursuant to this chapter by knowingly making a false statement, submitting false information, refusing to provide complete information in response to a question in an application for certification, registration, or licensure, or by any means of fraud or misrepresentation;
(2) Paying, or attempting to pay, anything of value, other than the fees or assessments required by this chapter, to any member or employee of the board for the purpose of procuring a certificate, registration, or license;
(3) Being convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude; (A certificate holder, registrant, or licensee shall notify the board of the existence of a criminal conviction of the type described in this division within fifteen days of the conviction.)
(4) Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, with the intent to either benefit the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee or another person or injure another person;
(5) Violation of any of the standards for the development or communication of real estate appraisals set forth in this chapter and rules of the board;
(6) Failure or refusal to exercise reasonable diligence in developing an appraisal, preparing an appraisal report, or communicating an appraisal;
(7) Negligence or incompetence in developing an appraisal, in preparing an appraisal report, or in communicating an appraisal;
(8) Willfully disregarding or violating this chapter or the rules adopted thereunder;
(9) Accepting an appraisal assignment where the employment is contingent upon the appraiser preparing or reporting a predetermined estimate, analysis, or opinion, or where the fee to be paid for the appraisal is contingent upon the opinion, conclusion, or valuation attained or upon the consequences resulting from the appraisal assignment;
(10) Violating the confidential nature of governmental records to which the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee gained access through employment or engagement as an appraiser by a governmental agency;
(11) Entry of final judgment against the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee on the grounds of fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or gross negligence in the making of any appraisal of real estate;
(12) Violating any federal or state civil rights law;
(13) Having published advertising, whether printed, radio, display, or of any other nature, which was misleading or inaccurate in any material particular, or in any way having misrepresented any appraisal or specialized service;
(14) Failing to maintain records for five years as required by section 4763.14 of the Revised Code.
The Complaint Process
Pursuant to Section 4763.11 of the Ohio Revised Code, within 5 business days after a signed written complaint is made against a certified, registered, or licensed appraiser with the division of real estate, the superintendent of real estate sends a notice to the appraiser setting forth the basis for the complaint. The notice states that an informal meeting will be held with the parties if both parties so request within 10 days thereafter on a form the superintendent provides. The appraiser is entitled to have an attorney represent him/her throughout this process.
If both parties request the informal meeting, the superintendent shall notify the parties of the date of the meeting, which shall be within twenty business days thereafter. If the parties reach an accommodation at the informal meeting, the investigator shall so report to the superintendent and the complaint file shall be closed, unless, based upon the investigator’s report, the superintendent finds evidence that the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee has violated division (G) of the section.
If the parties fail to agree to an informal meeting or fail to reach an accommodation, or if the superintendent finds evidence of a violation of division (G) of the section, the superintendent shall, within 5 business days of such determination, notify the parties and investigate the conduct of the appraiser.
Within 60 business days after receipt of the complaint, or, if an informal meeting is held, within sixty days after such meeting, the investigator shall file a written report of the results of the investigation with the superintendent. Within 10 business days thereafter, the superintendent shall review the report and determine whether there exists reasonable and substantial evidence of a violation of division (G) of the section by the appraiser. If the superintendent finds such evidence exists, within 5 business days of that determination, the superintendent shall notify the parties of the determination. The appraiser may request a hearing pursuant to Chapter 119 of the Revised Code. If the superintendent finds that such evidence does not exist, within 5 business days thereafter, the superintendent shall notify the parties of the determination. Within 15 business days after the superintendent notifies the parties that such evidence does not exist, the complainant may file with the division a request that the real estate appraiser board review the determination. If the complainant files such request, the board shall review the determination at the next regularly scheduled meeting. The board may hear the testimony of the parties at the meeting upon the request of that party. If the board affirms the determination of the superintendent, the superintendent shall notify the parties within 5 business days thereafter. If the board reverses the determination of the superintendent, a hearing shall be held and the parties notified.
The board shall review the referee’s or examiner’s report and the evidence at the next regularly scheduled board meeting. The board may hear the testimony of the parties upon request.
The Disciplinary Action
If the board determines that a licensee, registrant, or certificate holder has violated this chapter for which disciplinary action may be taken under division (G) of the section, after review of the referee’s or examiner’s report and the evidence, the board shall order the disciplinary action the board considers appropriate, which may include, but is not limited to, any of the following:
(1) Reprimand of the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee;
(2) Suspension of the certificate, registration, or license for a specific period of time;
(3) Suspension of the certificate, registration, or license until the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee complies with conditions the board sets, including but not limited to, successful completion of the real estate appraiser examination described in division (D) of section 4763.05 of the Revised Code or completion of a specific number of hours of continuing education instruction in courses or seminars approved by the board;
(4) Revocation of the certificate, registration, or license.
The decision and order of the board is final, subject to review in the manner provided for in Chapter 119 of the Revised Code and appeal to any court of common pleas.
The board immediately shall notify the superintendent of real estate of any disciplinary action taken under the section against a certificate holder, registrant, or licensee who also is licensed under Chapter 4735. of the Revised Code, and also shall notify any other federal, state, or local agency and any other public or private association that the board determines is responsible for licensing or otherwise regulating the professional or business activity of the appraiser. Additionally, the board shall notify the complainant and any other party who may have suffered financial loss because of the certificate holder’s, registrant’s, or licensee’s violations, that the complainant or other party may sue for recovery under section 4763.16 of the Revised Code ( The Real Estate Appraiser Recovery Fund). The notice provided under this division shall specify the conduct for which the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee was disciplined and the disciplinary action taken by the board and the result of that conduct.
If the board determines that a certificate holder, registrant, or licensee has violated this chapter for which disciplinary action may be taken under division (G) of the section as a result of an investigation conducted by the superintendent upon the superintendent’s own motion or upon the request of the board, the superintendent shall notify the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee of the certificate holder’s, registrant’s, or licensee’s right to a hearing pursuant to Chapter 119 of the Revised Code and to an appeal of a final determination of such administrative proceedings to any court of common pleas.
Pursuant to Section 4763.17 of the Ohio Revised Code, every partnership, corporation, or association which employs or retains the services of a person licensed, registered, or certified under this chapter, whether the certificate holder, registrant, or licensee is an independent contractor or under the supervision or control of the partnership, corporation, or association, is jointly and severally liable for any damages incurred by any person as a result of an act or omission concerning a state-certified or state-licensed real estate appraisal prepared or facilitated in the preparation by a certificate holder, registrant, or licensee while employed or retained by the partnership, corporation, or association.
Please note that at this time there is a licensee alert as fake communications is being sent to licensees by email and telephone. The Division sends its communications by certified mail. If there is a question, contact the Division Attorney Laura Meechan at 614-466-5384 to verify if legitimate.