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Criminal Record Reports Update

License applicants are required to disclose all criminal convictions, regardless of when they occurred. In addition, since January 1, applicants have been required to submit with their applications a criminal record report provided by a reputable reporting agency. A North Carolina statewide report is required if the applicant has resided in North Carolina during the previous seven years, and a report is also required for each out-of-state county in which the applicant has resided during this period. Applicants undergo a character review only after having fully satisfied all other licensing requirements.

Early results indicate that this requirement is having a significant impact. The number of license applications requiring special review has more than doubled since implementation of the criminal record report requirement. Of the 600-700 applicants eligible for licensure each month, over 100 currently require special review due to matters such as criminal convictions, license disciplinary actions, outstanding judgments, etc. While most of these involve relatively minor issues that do not prevent or significantly delay licensure, many require special review by the Commission. These frequently result in the applicant being offered the opportunity for an informal conference with designated Commission members to discuss their applications. Decisions on some applications are deferred pending a formal hearing before the Commission.

Of special concern to the Commission is the number of broker applicants who, because of the new criminal record report requirement, are found to have had criminal convictions they did not disclose when they applied for a salesperson license or convictions they failed to report to the Commission as required by Commission rule. These applicants run the risk of not only having their broker license application denied, but also having their salesperson license revoked or suspended!

If you or anyone you know is applying for a license, be sure to disclose all criminal convictions, including DWI convictions. Failure to disclose a criminal conviction is frequently viewed by the Commission as being worse than the act that resulted in the conviction. Also remember to report any state in which you have ever held a real estate license and any disciplinary action taken against you because the Commission checks all applicants against information in the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials’ “Disciplinary Data Bank.”

This article came from the May 2003-Vol34-1 edition of the bulletin.