Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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South Dakota Real Estate Commission

Consumer Complaints


Responsibilities of the Commission

The South Dakota Real Estate Commission is charged with the responsibility of investigating complaints which are brought to its attention involving real estate licensees, whereby misconduct is alleged. The Commission's jurisdiction is over the license of the licensees involved in the complaint. The Commission may not force a licensee to specifically perform under the terms of a contract, nor may it recover damages.

The complainant must file a civil action in order to seek specific performance or damages. If the dispute involves $12,000 or less, the matter may be settled in Small Claims Court. The primary responsibilities of the South Dakota Real Estate Commission in such matters are:

  • Administer and enforce the license law;
  • Create and enforce necessary rules;
  • License, by examination, qualified applicants as real estate licensees;
  • Investigate possible and alleged violations of the license law and rules;
  • Prescribe curricula and standards for entry level real estate educational programs;
  • Prescribe curricula and standards for continuing education of licensees;
  • Administer the Recovery Fund;
  • Conduct hearings to impose suspension and revocation of licensees for violations of the Law and/or Rules of the Commission

Procedure for Filing a Complaint

Any person wanting to register a complaint with the South Dakota Real Estate Commission must first complete a complaint form (Adobe PDF format) furnished by the Commission. All complaints must be in writing in order for the Commission to investigate. The complaint must have a clear and concise statement of the facts, with supporting documentation.
When a complaint is filed against a licensee, a copy of the complaint is forwarded to the licensee. The licensee must file, within 20 days from receipt of the complaint, a response on forms furnished by the Commission. This response must be in written affidavit form, be properly certified and contain the licensee's factual response.

The licensee's response is filed with the Commission. A copy of the licensee's answer is forwarded to the person registering the complaint, and the Commission's staff investigates the matter. Priority of investigation is normally based on the date of receipt of the complaint.

The complaint, answer and investigative report is submitted to the Real Estate Commission for its review. There are three options the Commission may take:

  1. If the Commission determines the complaint is without merit, is frivolous, or charges conduct not constituting grounds for disciplinary action, it will dismiss the complaint and notify the parties in writing.
  2. If the Commission considers the complaint to be of a serious nature constituting grounds for disciplinary action, it may, at its discretion, consult with the party or parties affected in an effort to resolve the matter in an informal consultation.
  3. The Commission may, in lieu of, or after an informal consultation, decide to conduct a formal hearing. The parties involved are mailed a notice of hearing. The hearing is similar to a court proceeding: an Administrative Hearing Examiner presides; parties have right to legal counsel; witnesses may be subpoenaed; testimony is heard; documents are offered in evidence; and witnesses may be cross-examined.

After the hearing is held, the Commission renders a decision. If the licensee is found guilty of misconduct, paperwork is prepared setting forth the violations found and disciplinary action to be taken. Disciplinary action may take the form of a letter of reprimand, suspension or revocation of license, monetary penalty, or a combination thereof.

Download the Complaint Form (Adobe PDF format).