Code of Ethics & Professional Standards


A Member Benefit

The most outstanding characteristic that sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate practitioners is the willingness to accept and abide by the Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Adopted in 1913, the Code has been revised many times to reflect current developments in professional real estate practice.

Local associations of REALTORS® offer their members, their clients and customers a vehicle to economically expedite ethics complaints and/or arbitration requests without going to court. If a monetary dispute arises from a real estate transaction or if you believe a REALTOR® may have acted in an unethical manner, you can seek a resolution through the local association of REALTORS®. REALTORS® are judged by their peers as opposed to other individuals who may be far less familiar with the practices and customs of the real estate industry.

An ethics complaint charges that a REALTOR® has violated an Article(s) of the Code of Ethics.

An arbitration request involves a dispute over entitlement to a monetary transaction (e.g., a commission).

Any person, whether a member or not, having reason to believe that a member is in violation of any conduct subject to disciplinary action may file an ethics complaint.

A customer, client or REALTOR® principal can file an arbitration request. A REALTOR® non-principal can also request arbitration with his current or former REALTOR® principal.

Ethics complaints must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days of the time that the alleged offense and relating facts could have been known by the complainant. Requests for arbitration must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within one hundred eighty (180) days after the facts constituting the arbitrable matter could have been known.

The complaint or request is filed with the Executive Officer of the association. Appropriate forms are available in this section of the website.

Cite the Article(s) alleged violated on the Ethics Complaint form and attach an explanation(with appropriate documentation, if any) dated and signed by the complainant that includes the facts on which the alleged violation(s) is based. Only Articles 1 through 17 can be the basis of the complaint. The Preamble is aspirational and establishes ideals that a REALTOR® should strive to attain. Standards of Practice may be cited in the written explanation in support of the Article(s) that was allegedly violated.

An Arbitration Request form must be submitted with details of the dispute attached and a$250.00 filing fee. In addition, include documentation that may help to substantiate your position.

A charge of violating the law or State real estate regulations is not a matter that would be considered by the association of REALTORS®. Also, the association is not a court of law where criminal or civil issues are resolved.

A REALTOR® may be obligated to arbitrate, or may have a choice as to whether or not to voluntarily participate in an arbitration proceeding conducted by the association of REALTORS®.Mandatory Arbitration is when the dispute is between: 1) REALTORS® who are principal brokers (sole proprietor, partner, corporate officer, majority shareholder, or branch office manager of a real estate firm) in different firms; 2) clients and REALTOR® principals. Voluntary Arbitration is when the dispute is between: 1) Members in the same firm; 2) a REALTOR®, who is a principal broker, and a non-member principal broker of another firm; 3) customers and REALTOR® principals.

Ethics Complaint/Arbitration Request Checklist

Complete Ethics Complaint or Arbitration Request.

Ethics Complaint or Arbitration Request is reviewed by the Grievance Committee.

If Grievance Committee refers the Ethics Complaint or Arbitration Request for a hearing, the complainant will be advised of the referral and the respondent requested to submit a written response.

If Grievance Committee determines that a hearing is not warranted, the parties will be advised that the matter has been dismissed and notified of the opportunity to appeal the Grievance Committee’s dismissal to the Board of Directors.

If the Grievance Committee determines that a hearing is warranted, the parties will be advised of the date, time and place of the hearing subsequent to having an opportunity to challenge any of the hearing panelists for cause.

During the hearing, the parties have an opportunity to present their positions. Parties may exercise their right to bring witnesses and/or attorneys to the hearing. The standard of proof in an ethics complaint is clear, strong and convincing evidence. The standard of proof in an arbitration proceeding is a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., that evidence, when taken as a whole, is more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition).

The Hearing Panel’s ethics decision or arbitration award is transmitted to the parties. Either party may file an ethics appeal or rehearing request with the President, but the complainant may only appeal on a procedural basis. The parties involved in an arbitration may appeal only on the basis that there was a procedural irregularity that materially worked to their detriment.

The Board of Directors, either on an ethics appeal or after the ethics appeal period has expired, renders its final decision, which will in turn be transmitted to the parties. Arbitration awards are considered final and binding subsequent to the expiration of the procedural review period.

Use this link to access NAR’s Code of Ethics, professional standards and mediation resources.

Ethics Complaint Form (pdf)

View Current Documents (