Who Oversees the California Department of Real Estate?

Who Oversees the California Department of Real Estate?

Published by Kartik Subramaniam

Reading Time : 3 minutes

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The California Department of Real Estate is the state's authoritative body responsible for administrating and regulating real estate laws and overseeing the licensing of real estate professionals, including salespersons and brokers, within California. Established to safeguard public interests in real estate transactions, the DRE ensures that the real estate industry operates with integrity, transparency, and compliance with state laws.

The Real Estate Commissioner is the head of the DRE and oversees the Department. The Commissioner gets their job by being appointed by the Governor of California.

What qualifies someone to be the Real Estate Commissioner?

Section 10052 of the Business and Professions Code states that the commissioner shall have been a real estate broker for five years actively engaged in business as such in California or shall possess related experience associated with real estate activity in California for five years within the last ten years.

Who is the Real Estate Commissioner today?

On January 3, 2024, Chika Sunquist officially took the helm as the Commissioner of the California Department of Real Estate (DRE), following her appointment by Governor Gavin Newsom on November 28, 2023. Her journey with the DRE commenced in 2006 when she embarked on her career as a deputy commissioner within the Sacramento Enforcement Office. In this role, she dedicated herself to probing complaints lodged against both licensed and unlicensed individuals, alongside conducting thorough background checks on those applying for licenses.


Her career trajectory within the DRE saw a significant transition in 2008 when she moved to the Mortgage Loan Activities unit. In 2015, she was promoted to supervising special investigator for the same unit.

Since 2020, Sunquist has been Assistant Commissioner of Enforcement at the DRE. Her responsibilities there involved overseeing management and operational facets of the Enforcement division.

Before her tenure at the DRE, Sunquist garnered practical experience in the field, having engaged in residential real estate sales. To this day, she maintains her broker license. Her educational background is impressive, with a Bachelor of Science in Languages and Linguistics from Georgetown University, complemented by an Associate of Arts in Administration of Justice from Sacramento City College.

What Does the Real Estate Commissioner do?

The California Real Estate Commissioner is critical in overseeing the California Department of Real Estate. The Commissioner's duties are specifically tailored to ensure the integrity, transparency, and efficiency of the real estate market in the state, protecting consumers and ensuring that real estate professionals adhere to the legal and ethical standards set forth by California law. Some of these duties are:

  • Enforcement of Real Estate Law: The Commissioner oversees the enforcement of California real estate laws. This involves investigating complaints against real estate licensees, taking disciplinary actions against those who violate the law, and ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations affecting the real estate industry.
  • Licensing and Certification: The Commissioner is responsible for licensing real estate brokers and salespersons in California. This includes overseeing the examination process for new licensees, renewing licenses, and ensuring that licensees meet the required educational standards.
  • Education and Professional Standards: Setting and maintaining educational standards for real estate professionals is crucial. The Commissioner approves real estate education courses offered by real estate schools in California, ensures the ongoing professional development of licensees, and sets criteria for real estate pre-licensing and continuing education through the legislative process.
  • Consumer Protection: A significant aspect of the Commissioner’s role is to protect consumers involved in real estate transactions. This includes providing resources and information to help consumers make informed decisions, addressing and resolving consumer complaints, and ensuring that the real estate industry operates fairly and transparently.
  • Regulatory Oversight: The Commissioner oversees the regulation of real estate practice and transactions, including managing escrow companies, mortgage brokers, and other entities involved in real estate transactions in California.
  • Industry Liaison: Acting as a liaison between the real estate industry and the public, the Commissioner engages in outreach and communication efforts to educate consumers and professionals about their rights and responsibilities under California real estate law.

In carrying out these duties, the California Real Estate Commissioner ensures that the state's real estate industry operates in a manner that is ethical, lawful, and conducive to the economic well-being of California residents while also fostering professional integrity and competence among real estate practitioners.



Kartik Subramaniam

Founder, Adhi Schools

Kartik Subramaniam is the Founder and CEO of ADHI Real Estate Schools, a leader in real estate education throughout California. Holding a degree from Cal Poly University, Subramaniam brings a wealth of experience in real estate sales, property management, and investment transactions. He is the author of nine books on real estate and countless real estate articles. With a track record of successfully completing hundreds of real estate transactions, he has equipped countless professionals to thrive in the industry.

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