TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney which would establish a continuing education requirement for real estate professionals seeking licensure in New Jersey was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 36-0, receiving final legislative approval.
“The real estate market in New Jersey and around the nation is in crisis, and a major contributing factor to that crisis has been some bad advice home buyers received from their real estate representatives,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “Unfortunately, as the housing market was in its boom years, realtors pushed prospective buyers to go bigger and more expensive, in some cases encouraging buyers to go after homes that they simply couldn’t afford. Through this legislation, we’re ensuring that real estate professionals are kept up to speed on the latest trends in the market, and can help buyers get the best homes for their money.”
The bill, S-2068, would create continuing education requirements for real estate licensees in the Garden State. Under the bill, real estate brokers, broker-salespersons, and salespersons seeking licensure would be required to complete no more than 16 hours of continuing education every two years, on or before April 30 of the year in which their biennial license expires. The New Jersey Real Estate Commission would be responsible for overseeing the continuing education requirement, and would be required to approve continuing education courses, course providers and instructors, as well as conferring credits for courses completed in other states and waiving continuing education requirements on the grounds of illness, emergency, hardship or active duty military service.
The bill would also assess a processing fee, to be determined by the Commission but not to exceed $200, on licensees who fail to complete the continuing education requirement within the allotted timeframe. Continuing education courses would focus on issues such as disclosure responsibilities, legal issues, real estate ethics, fair housing and State and federal housing rules and regulations, among other topics.
“For most New Jerseyans, a home is going to be the biggest investment of their lives, and they depend on the professional expertise of realtors and other licensed real estate salespeople to help guide them through the process,” said Senator Sweeney. “Real estate professionals have a responsibility to keep up-to-date on the ever-evolving housing regulations coming out of Washington and Trenton, as well as recognizing their ethical and legal obligations to their clients. Under this bill, we’re setting reasonable continuing education requirements for real estate professionals in order to guarantee New Jerseyans the best housing advice possible.”
The bill now heads to the Governor to be signed into law. It was approved by the Assembly in June.