Boards and Associations of REALTORS® are responsible for enforcing the REALTORS® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics imposes duties above and in addition to those imposed by law or regulation which apply only to real estate professionals who choose to become REALTORS®.
Many difficulties between real estate professionals (whether REALTORS® or not) result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication. If you have a problem with a real estate professional, you may want to speak with them or with a principal broker in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.
If, after taking these steps, you still feel you have a grievance, you may want to consider filing an ethics complaint. You will want to keep in mind that . . .
Only REALTORS® and REALTOR®-Associates are subject to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®.
If the real estate professional (or their broker) you are dealing with is not a REALTORS®, your only recourse may be the state real estate licensing authority or the courts.
Boards and Associations of REALTORS® determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, not whether the law or real estate regulations have been broken. Those decisions can only be made by the licensing authorities or the courts.
Boards of REALTORS® can discipline REALTORS® for violating the Code of Ethics. Typical forms of discipline include attendance at courses and seminars designed to increase REALTORS'® understanding of the ethical duties or other responsibilities of real estate professionals. REALTORS® may also be reprimanded, fined, or their membership can be suspended or terminated for serious or repeated violations. Boards and Associations of REALTORS® cannot require REALTORS® to pay money to parties filing ethics complaints; can-not award “punitive damages” for violations of the Code of Ethics; and cannot suspend or revoke a real estate professional’s license.
The primary emphasis of discipline for ethical lapses is educational, to create a heightened awareness of and appreciation for the duties the Code imposes. At the same time, more severe forms of discipline, including fines and suspension and termination of membership may be imposed for serious or repeated violations.
NAR Ethics Duty Expansion
Please read the information below as it expands Code of Ethics to include comments made by members on any social networking site to be held accountable. The Code previously could only be used for a transaction and now it has been expanded.
NAR’s Board of Directors today strengthened REALTORS®’ commitment to upholding fair housing ideals, approving a series of recommendations from NAR’s Professional Standards Committee that extend the application of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics to discriminatory speech and conduct outside of members’ real estate practices. Article 10 prohibits REALTORS® from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity in the provision of professional services and in employment practices. The Board approved a new Standard of Practice under the Article, 10-5, that states, “REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs” against members of those protected classes. The Board also approved a change to professional standards policy, expanding the Code of Ethics’ applicability to all of a REALTOR®’s activities, and added guidance to the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual to help professional standards hearing panels apply the new standard. Finally, Directors approved a revision to the NAR Bylaws, expanding the definition of “public trust” to include all discrimination against the protected classes under Article 10 along with all fraud. Associations are required to share with the state real estate licensing authority final ethics decisions holding REALTORS® in violation of the Code of Ethics in instances involving real estate-related activities and transactions where there is reason to believe the public trust may have been violated. The Board made these changes effective immediately, though the changes cannot be applied to speech or conduct that occurred before the effective date. NAR has produced training and resource materials to assist leaders with understanding and implementing the changes and will be rolling those out in the coming weeks.
Please contact Christina Chow, Director of Legal Affairs at (678) 597-4128 or email@example.com if you have any questions or to confirm that the Real Estate Professional you have a complaint against is a REALTOR® member that the Georgia Association of REALTORS® has jurisdiction over.
Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts. The parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the “arbitrators”, “arbiters,” or “arbitral tribunal”), whose decision (the “award”) they agree to be bound. It is a settlement technique in which a third party reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides.
A Request for Arbitration must be filed: 1) after the real estate transaction giving rise to the dispute has been completed; 2) within six months after the facts constituting the Arbitration matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence; 3) by the broker of a real estate agency.
Mediation vs. Arbitration
Watch NAR’s one-minute video, which provides a brief summary of the benefits of mediation.
Please click here to access the Arbitration Process.
To find out more about the Ethics and Arbitration process from the National Association of REALTORS®, please click here for NAR Professional Standards.
Please contact Christina Chow, Director of Legal Affairs at (678) 597-4128 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the Ethics and / or Arbitration process.