December 04, 2017 by Robyn W. Madden
This past May, Governor Henry McMaster signed into law enhanced background check requirements for applicants seeking licensure with, and licensees regulated by, the South Carolina Real Estate Commission. Impacted prospective and existing licensees include the following:
The new South Carolina Real Estate Commission background check requirements will not become effective until May 2020. The criminal records requirements set forth in S.C. Code Ann. § 40-57-115 will continue to apply until that time.
The new South Carolina Real Estate Commission criminal records background check requires fingerprinting with the initial application, and a criminal background check every third renewal thereafter (Licensees are renewed bi-annually, so the records check must be submitted every six years following initial licensure). Licensees who fail to appropriately disclose information requested on a renewal application also face potential disciplinary action before the Real Estate Commission.
The South Carolina Real Estate Commission required criminal record checks include a State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) background check, and a national criminal records check, supported by fingerprints, conducted by the FBI. Prospective and current licensees are responsible for all costs associated with each criminal record background check.
Any information obtained from the criminal background check shall remain confidential, except that information relied upon in denying licensure may be disclosed as necessary to support the administrative action.
In the event that criminal records are uncovered in conjunction with an application for initial licensure with the commission, the applicant will likely be called before the South Carolina Real Estate Commission for an application hearing to enable the Commission to assess the applicant’s fitness for practice and determine whether licensure should be granted.
If criminal history is uncovered in conjunction with a licensee’s renewal application, the licensee will be subjected to disciplinary action pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. 40-57-710.
If you receive notice of a hearing before the South Carolina Real Estate Commission, you have the right to appear with counsel. It is critical that you are prepared and know what to expect. Our South Carolina Professional Licensing attorneys routinely appear before the various SC LLR boards, including the South Carolina Real Estate Commission. We offer an initial consultation to discuss the facts specific to your situation. 803.227.4254