Understanding the Real Estate Regulatory Body in New York

By Ciprian Morariu Published: May 16, 2024

Real Estate Regulatory Body in New York

New York is one of the most popular, sophisticated, and sought-after real estate markets in the world. 

It is home to shimmering skyscrapers, sprawling natural views, vast urban metropolitan cities, and quaint towns. 

New York’s real estate market is a melting pot of thousands of real estate professionals - from salespeople and brokers to REALTORS and developers among many others. 

To enforce rules and regulations and oversee the policies and practices of real estate professionals is NY’s premier regulatory body. 

You might be wondering what is the real estate regulatory body in New York and what role it plays in the industry.

The Real Estate Board of New York or REBNY is NY’s largest and oldest trade association. Established in 1896, it is the leading authority that represents the interests and welfare of NY-based real estate professionals. 

REBNY’s core responsibility is to ensure the facilitation of transparent, ethical, and beneficial transactions in the matters of real estate. 

Be it buying, selling, renting, appraising, or leasing, any commercial or residential real estate deal is governed by quality standards established by the RBENY. 

In addition to the RBENY, New York is also home to other leading real estate authorities and regulatory bodies as well. 

One of them is known as the New York Department of State’s Division and Licensing Services (DLS). 

There’s another state authority which is also the state’s main regulatory body for real estate called the New York Department of Real Estate (NYDOS). 

If you are interested in learning more about the New York state’s real estate landscape, including its regulatory authorities and their specific purpose, then this article is for you. 

We have put together a detailed overview of everything you need to know about New York’s real estate and its various regulatory bodies.

What is the Real Estate Regulatory Body in New York?

Role of the New York State Department of States Division of Licensing Services

Whether you are an aspiring agent, broker, realtor, or someone who already holds industry experience, you probably would have heard about the New York State Department of States Division of Licensing Services. 

The Division of Licensing Services (DLS) in NY is the state’s leading authority for providing occupational licenses for professionals. 

The New York DLS is responsible for administering, reviewing, inspecting, and issuing licenses of 35+ professionals in the state. 

It establishes the rules, regulations, and guidelines and also formulates the curriculum for qualifying education and license renewal. 

These include - real estate agents, brokers, salespersons, and home inspectors among others. 

Consumer cases and complaints related to real estate transactions are also handled by the NY Department of Licensing. 

Key Functions and Duties of the Regulatory Body

The New York Real Estate Department is the state’s leading authority for managing, regulating, and overseeing the most important aspects of its real estate industry. 

Be it matters of real estate licenses or general inquiries related to state laws, rules, and regulations, it’s the duty of the NY real estate department to provide industry-specific guidance. 

One can also reach out to the department to send or receive documents, forms, and any other relevant communication related to getting your license, renewing it, and maintaining its active status. 

Let’s look at some of the salient responsibilities and duties of the regulatory body: 

  • Act as the state authority for license services 
  • Establish the standards of pre-licensing educational programs
  • Enforce compliance laws and regulations related to real estate legislation 
  • Implement best practices and standards for the protection of consumer rights
  • Enforce the standards for pre and post-licensing educational training
  • Maintain the legal benchmarks and guidelines in place for professionals

In addition to the above, there can be additional responsibilities as well. 

Structure of the New York Real Estate Department

Components and Functions of the Real Estate Department

The New York Department of Real Estate license board was established in 1996 to oversee the various aspects and functions of the state’s real estate industry and its professionals. 

In total, the board comprises 15 members including the New York Secretary of State, the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services, and thirteen members appointed by the board or public. 

Amongst the thirteen elected and appointed members by the board, at least five must be real estate brokers. Additionally, it is mandatory for the board to consist of six public members. 

All the members of the board are appointed by the Governor of New York City in conjunction with the state’s legislative leaders. 

The term of every member of the NY Department of Real Estate is two years. 

How the Department Ensures Fair Practice in the Property Industry

The most important function of the DRE real estate in New York is to ensure the establishment and enforcement of real estate laws, rules, and regulations. 

It is the duty of the NY DRE to act as the state’s leading authority on all matters related to the real estate industry. 

In addition to being the central agency for licensing issuance and renewal, the DRE in New York is also responsible for safeguarding the rights and interests of consumers in a real estate transaction. 

In fact, the Department is fully committed to ensuring the integrity and trustworthiness of all active real estate professionals in the state. 

Be it a salesperson, broker, or realtor, the department regulates the working and actions of them all.

In the event of any formal complaint submitted by a consumer against a NY-based real estate professional, the Department’s Division of Licensing Services will review the complaint and take disciplinary action if required. 

Every active and practicing real estate professional must adhere to the code of conduct and ethics as established by the department. Without doing so, any licensee can be found violating the laws and their license status may be revoked. 

New York Department of Real Estate License: An Overview

Requirement for Obtaining a Real Estate License in New York

Getting a real estate license in New York is the most important step in building a successful, thriving career. 

A license is legal proof that you are an authorized professional accredited by the state’s real estate board. 

With a NY state license, you will be legally allowed to help clients in the sale, purchase, lease, or rent of residential and commercial real estate in New York. 

A license can open many career avenues for you - you could choose to work as a salesperson, broker, mortgage loan officer, home appraiser, or realtor. 

Irrespective of your career choice, getting a license is the first step towards a lasting professional journey. 

In a competitive real estate market like New York, your license will make you more employable. Plus, you will also gain access to a wider network of listings, databases, and potential opportunities. 

Now that we have discussed the importance of getting a license, let us discuss what are the requirements for the same. 

First and foremost, you must meet a set of statutory requirements as established by the New York Department of Real Estate (DRE). These are as follows: 

  • You must be at least 18 years of age or older. 
  • You must be a resident of the New York state or a legally admitted alien. 
  • You must have a high school education or a GED equivalent

If you meet the above criteria, you can proceed to fulfill the pre-licensing education requirement for an NY real estate license

According to the New York Real Estate Department, completing pre-licensing education is mandatory for every applicant. 

To do so, you must enroll in a DRE-approved real estate college, school, or education provider, and complete 77 hours of coursework. 

The coursework will cover fundamental subjects like - state and federal laws, real estate finance, fair practices, and ethics to name a few. 

The Process of Getting a New York Real Estate License

If you are ready to start the journey of getting your NY real estate license, let us walk you through the step-by-step process to do so.

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirements

Meeting the basic requirements is a must to qualify for a real estate license in New York

You must meet the minimum age, education, and citizenship criteria to become eligible. 

Step 2: Complete the pre-licensing education

To become a licensed real estate professional in NY, you must complete the 77-hour pre-licensing coursework. 

You can choose to enroll in an online course or a real-world school, however, make sure that the course provider is affiliated and approved by the state. 

Step 3: Pass the NY real estate licensing exam

After completing the pre-licensing education, the next step is to take the NY licensing exam. 

This is the final test to evaluate your knowledge and preparation of the topics covered in the pre-licensing education. 

The NY real estate licensing exam consists of multiple-choice questions and you must score at least 75 percent or above to clear the test. 

Step 4: Find a sponsoring broker

Once you have completed your education and successfully cleared the NY licensing exam, you will receive your real estate license from the Department of Real Estate (DRE) in New York. 

However, to activate your license, you need to find a sponsoring broker or brokerage firm. 

Doing so is a mandatory step as the DRE expects newly licensed agents to work under the supervision of senior and experienced brokers. 

What Does DRE Stand for in Real Estate?

Understanding DRE in the Context of Real Estate

DRE in real estate refers to the division or department of real estate whose primary objective is to safeguard the interests and welfare of the public. 

DRE is responsible for establishing and enforcing the laws, guidelines, and regulations for handling a transaction by licensees. 

At the same time, DRE is also responsible for regulating and overseeing the licensing process for aspiring and active license holders. 

The DRE is a state-based regulatory authority that acts as the highest governing entity in matters of real estate. 

Importance of DRE in the Real Estate Field

Real estate is a highly regulated and rules-driven industry as it  requires significant financial investments from lenders and borrowers. 

This is why the need for state-owned and operated entities like DRE comes into the picture. 

Wondering what DRE stands for in real estate? 

In the context of the real estate industry, the DRE is short for Department of Real Estate which is a regulatory authority with a mission to protect and promote the interests of consumers.