Texas Register Preamble

The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC or the commission) proposes new §535.201, regarding Definitions; amendments to §535.206, regarding The Texas Real Estate Inspector Committee; new §535.209, regarding Examinations; new §535.212, regarding Education and Experience Requirements for a License; new §535.213, regarding Approval of Courses in Real Estate Inspection; new §535.214, regarding Providers of Real Estate Inspections Courses; amendments to §535.215, regarding Inactive Inspector Status; amendments to §535.216, regarding Renewal of License or Registration; new §535.217, regarding Contact Information; amendments to §535.218, regarding Continuing Education, amendments to §535.221, regarding Advertisements; amendments to §535.222, regarding Inspection Reports; and amendments to §535.226, regarding Sponsorship of Apprentice Inspectors and Real Estate Inspectors.

Proposed amendments to these sections, as well as proposed new rules reflect a non-substantive reorganization of 22 TAC Chapter 535, Subchapter R, to improve readability of the rules based on changes identified through the agency's rule review process. Other provisions throughout the rules modify language to allow the agency and its licensees to better take advantage of opportunities for online license management, as well as electronic delivery of notices and license certificates. In addition to these non-substantive amendments, a number of substantive changes are being proposed.

Proposed new §535.201, Definitions, would consolidate definitions related to regulation of inspectors, including code organization and trade association, and introduces a Texas Standards of Practice/Legal/Ethics Update course.

Proposed amendments to §535.206, The Texas Real Estate Inspector Committee, would clarify that a member only serves until a successor has been appointed if the member completes his or her term and would make other non-substantive changes to the section.

Proposed new §535.209, Examinations, would move the examination provisions from §535.214 (proposed for repeal) and would lower the minimum passing score on the professional inspector examination from 80% to 75%.

Proposed new §535.212, Education and Experience Requirements for a License, would allocate the numbers of hours of education required by Chapter 1102 for licensure as a real estate inspector or professional inspector among the core subject matter areas. This proposed change addresses both the hours required under the traditional three-tier method of licensure, as well as the hours required for the education/experience substitute method.

Proposed new §535.213, Approval of Courses in Real Estate Inspection, would increase the maximum amount of classroom course time that may be spent on field work from 10% to 50% and would further define a core course area of "legal/ethics."

Proposed new §535.214, Providers of Real Estate Inspection Courses, incorporates content from current §535.212 regarding the requirements for providers of courses in real estate inspection.

Proposed amendments to §535.215, Inactive Inspector Status, reflects a change in requirements regarding inactive and active status to better take advantage of opportunities for online license management.

Proposed amendments to §535.216, reflects the commission's move toward online filing of applications and related forms, as well as electronic delivery of notices. Section 535.216 changes the name from "Renewal of License or Registration" to "Renewal of License".

Proposed new §535.217, Contact Information, would require that licensees provide the commission with a phone number and email address in addition to the permanent mailing address that is currently required, and this proposed section would further require licensees to keep the commission apprised of any changes to this contact information.

Proposed amendments to §535.218, Continuing Education, would require all real estate inspectors and professional inspectors to take a six-hour Texas Standards of Practice/Legal/Ethics Update course in order to renew a license. This course would not increase the total number of hours required to renew but would be counted toward the 32-hour requirement to renew a 2-year license.

Proposed amendments to §535.221, Advertisements, would explicitly bring electronic social media used for the purpose of gaining business into the definition of "advertisements" and would clarify how the rules relating to inspector advertising apply to these types of advertisements and how inspectors must identify themselves and provide their license numbers on such advertisements.

Proposed amendments to §535.222, Inspection Reports, would clarify that the names of each inspector who participated in performing an inspection, as well as all supervising real estate inspectors and/or sponsoring professional inspectors, must appear on inspection reports. The proposed amendments would also eliminate the signature requirement on inspection reports and would require inspectors to deliver reports within three days unless otherwise agreed to in writing.

Proposed amendments to §535.226, Sponsorship of Apprentice Inspectors and Real Estate Inspectors, would reflect the move toward online license management and would also eliminate language requiring signatures on inspection reports.

Devon V. Bijansky, Deputy General Counsel, has determined that for the first five-year period the amendments and new rules are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for the state or for units of local government as a result of enforcing or administering the amendments and new rules. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed amendments and new rules. There is no anticipated impact on small businesses, micro-businesses or local or state employment as a result of implementing the amendments and new rules.

Ms. Bijansky also has determined that, for each year of the first five years the amendments and new rules are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the amendments and new rules will be greater availability of members willing to serve on the Inspector Committee; greater availability of inspectors with a broader base of understanding of inspection principles; increased clarity regarding the requirements for inspector advertising, report identification, and delivery of reports; and improved efficiency within the agency.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Devon V. Bijansky, Deputy General Counsel, Texas Real Estate Commission, P.O. Box 12188, Austin, Texas 78711-2188.

The amendments and new rules are proposed under Texas Occupations Code, §1101.151, which authorizes the Texas Real Estate Commission to make and enforce all rules and regulations necessary for the performance of its duties and to establish standards of conduct and ethics for its licensees in keeping with the purpose and intent of Chapter 1102 to ensure compliance with the provisions of the chapter.

The statute affected by this proposal is Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1102. No other statute, code or article is affected by the proposal.

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