A Superior Court judge ruled that short-sale specialist Michael Hellickson's real-estate license should be reinstated, pending a hearing on state Department of Licensing charges that he and his firm took advantage of struggling homeowners.

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Nationally prominent short-sale specialist Michael Hellickson has won his real-estate license back — at least for now.

The state Department of Licensing denied Hellickson, his wife, Tara Hellickson, and their firm, Hellickson.com, due process when it suspended their licenses last month before allowing them a hearing, a Pierce County Superior Court judge ruled last week.

The agency “failed to show an immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare,” Judge Beverly Grant wrote.

After a 17-month investigation, the Licensing Department charged last month that the Hellicksons had engaged in dishonest practices which took advantage of struggling homeowners.

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The agency said the couple’s conduct was so egregious that it warranted suspension of their licenses immediately, before their appeal is heard.

An administrative law judge refused to overturn the suspension, but Grant reversed his ruling.

A hearing on the merits of the charges against the Hellicksons is to start Oct. 19. Depending on the outcome, they could keep their recently reinstated licenses or lose them again.

The Hellicksons have represented hundreds of troubled homeowners across the state, and Michael Hellickson touts himself as an expert on short sales — those for less than what sellers owe on their homes.

He has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News and other broadcast outlets.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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