Last fall, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law HB 3528, which included updates to the Real Estate License Act.
Some of the major changes include a revised list of subject areas for courses, a redefinition of the “core” curriculum for continuing education, the reclassification of schools as education providers and the elimination of testing for certain types of courses.
The changes were to become effective as of Jan. 1, but according to Illinois Realtors, the administrative rules have not yet been updated, causing a conflict with the active law.
As the April 30 deadline for broker renewal approaches, this conflict may be raising questions among those who need to renew their licenses.
“Without immediately effective regulations in place, licensees that seek to renew their licenses in the coming year are left in a gray area as to which courses to take, whether testing will be necessary and whether there will be any other mid-year changes that affect their renewals,” Jeffrey T. Baker, Illinois Realtors Associate General Counsel & Director of Legal Services, said in a recent blog post on the Illinois Realtors website.
In December, the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) elected to phase in a new education system rather than force an immediate transition and make emergency rule changes.
Despite the fact that an updated curriculum will not be introduced until June 30, the implementation of test-free courses began at the beginning of this year. However, schools and instructors will most likely need time to update their systems to verify attendance before removing testing completely.
After the introduction of the new curriculum on June 30, there will be a six-month “communication period” during which licensees will need to follow new requirements and regulations. But because of the crossover with managing broker license renewal in 2019 — and potentially the 2020 renewal for brokers and leasing agents — there are plans for allowances.
Because some managing brokers are currently enrolled in courses, they are allowed to take existing approved courses even if they do not qualify under the new curriculum. Brokers and leasing agents can continue using these courses through their 2020 renewal.
According to Baker, Illinois Realtors believes that as schools transition to the new regulations through mid-2019, all of the “old” courses will be completely phased out and licensees will be fully transitioned to the new regulations before their 2020 renewal date. The association is committed to advocating for the industry and its members.
“Illinois Realtors used its influence and industry expertise to see that necessary changes were successfully made to the act,” Baker said. “Likewise, it is also using its position to influence as positively as possible the informal and formal rulemaking processes so that the regulations that are finally adopted are beneficial to the industry and its membership, including working with the Department on the implementation and any future adjustments to its education transition plan.”