What Is the Texas Real Estate Act (TRELA)?

The Texas Real Estate Act (TRELA) is crucial to your practice as a Texas real estate agent, as it ensures that high standards of ethics and practice are maintained in the real estate industry. You’ll need to know TRELA in and out, first for the licensing exam and then for your work in the industry afterward!

The Purpose of TRELA

The state legislature of Texas passed the Texas Real Estate License Act to protect the public from brokers and sales agents who are dishonest. TRELA also:

  • Establishes rules that license holders must follow that pertain to obtaining, and later maintaining, a real estate license

  • Lists the penalties for violations of the License Act

  • Protects brokers from unfair activities by their competition

The more a license holder, whether a sales agent or broker, understands about TRELA, the less they have to worry about when it comes to keeping their license active.

The History of TRELA

In 1939, the Texas Legislature passed the Real Estate Dealers License Act to govern the licensing and practice of real estate in Texas. It eventually took on the name Texas Real Estate License Act.

Today, the Texas Real Estate License Act is part of Chapters 1101 of the Texas Occupations Code, and regulates real estate brokers and salespersons. In case you’re curious, Chapter 1102 pertains to real estate inspectors.


The Texas Real Estate License Act is the legislation that governs the licensing of Texas real estate license holders. The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), on the other hand, enforces the provisions of TRELA. The Texas legislature created TREC in 1949 (10 years after the creation of TRELA) for that purpose.

Think of it this way: TRELA is the law, and TREC is the enforcer of that law. TRELA and TREC go hand in hand!

The Basic Provisions of TRELA

There’s a lot in TRELA, but here are some of the general things it covers:

  • What real estate acts require a Texas real estate license

  • The difference between a salesperson and broker license

  • Age, education, and other requirements for obtaining a Texas real estate license

  • Exemptions from Texas real estate license requirements

  • Active licenses versus inactive licenses

  • License expiration and renewal

  • Code of ethics and standards of conduct

  • License violations and penalties

  • The process by which complaints against license holders are filed

  • The process by which a license holder can request a hearing 

  • Liability

  • Compensation requirements and regulations

  • Membership of TREC

  • Approval and regulation of real estate courses and continuing education

As you can see, TRELA regulates pretty much every aspect of your real estate practice! 

Want to Know More?

That’s a wrap on TRELA. Want to know exactly what TRELA says about educational requirements to get your license? Check out this blog post!

Leanna Petronella

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