The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® was formed in 1908 and the Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913. The purpose of the Code was to establish a professional standard of conduct for real estate practitioners.
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is based on the concepts of "service to the public," and a "commitment to professionalism." These central concepts of public protection are the foundations upon which the Articles of the Code stand.
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® was one of the first business groups to adopt a code of ethics. The first Code included "duties to clients" and "duties to other brokers." Later, when real estate license laws were established, many of these laws were based on the standards set in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
To this day, many judicial decisions cite the REALTOR® Code of Ethics as the recognized standard of conduct in the real estate industry. Courts have applied the standards of conduct embodied in the Code of Ethics even to real estate licensees who are not REALTORS®.
Each REALTOR® is required to complete training triennially (every 3 years) to review the Code. It ensures fellow practitioners and the public of a commitment to business integrity and a high standard of business conduct.
As a Boards of REALTORS®, we are responsible for enforcing the REALTOR® 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 the Designated Realtor in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.
Before You File an Ethics Complaint
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 REALTOR®, 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; cannot 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.
This Flow Chart will explain how our process works.
Complaint Procedures Outline
If you feel that a REALTOR® member has violated the Code of Ethics, contacting their Broker in Charge often proves to be the fastest and most efficient way to resolve an issue. If you are unable to come to a resolution the Board of REALTORS® is your next step.
Please contact the Association office where the staff will give you all the information needed to file a complaint. MLBOR is part of the Ombudsman program with NC REALTORS® and we can offer this service as the first step in the process. Should this process not conclude with an acceptable outcome, the Executive or staff can then email the E-1 (Ethics Complaint) form for completion.
Please note: Your complaint should be filed within 180 days of the sited ethics violation. The E-1 form will need to include which Article of the Code the member has violated. The following link will provide you access to the Articles: https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/governing-documents/code-of-ethics/2021-code-of-ethics-standards-of-practice
Once you have completed the form, please return it along with a narrative of your experience to the Board office by email: email@example.com or mail to Mountain Lakes Board of Realtors, 93 Tennessee Street Murphy NC 28906.
If the Ombudsman program does not provide a resolution of your complaint, it will then be forwarded to the Grievance Committee for review. They will determine if it meets the criteria for the Board to impose an Education or Citation requirement for the REALTOR® Respondent. Boards of REALTORS® and Associations of REALTOR® cannot require the respondent to pay complainants or award punitive damages for violations of the Code.
Issues that are not a part of our Citation Policy will then be moved to a Professional Standards Hearing.