The Code of Ethics

The National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics

Complaint Arbitration Checklist

Please follow these guidelines:

  • Contact , Chief Executive Officer at the Battle Creek Association of REALTORS® for the appropriate forms.
  • Ethics – Complete the ethics complaint form and provide a written explanation that includes the facts on which the alleged violation(s) is based, cite the appropriate Article(s) and include any other appropriate documentation.
  • Arbitration – Complete the arbitration request form, attach the details of the dispute, and enclose the appropriate deposit along with whatever documentation that may help to substantiate your position.
  • The ethics complaint or arbitration request will then be sent to the Grievance Committee for review.
  • The Grievance Committee may, if deemed appropriate, send a copy of the ethics complaint and/or arbitration request to the respondent for a written response.
  • The Grievance Committee, which functions much like a grand jury, will then review the ethics complaint and/or arbitration request (and response, if any).
  • If the Grievance Committee refers the ethics complaint or arbitration request for a hearing, the parties will be advised of the referral. The respondent will be requested to submit a written response if one has not already been filed.
  • If the 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 that must be observed to prevail 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.

The information contained has been summarized and provided for your use as a quick reference. For more information on Code of Ethics enforcement procedures or to review the completed Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.

Code of Ethics Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between an ethics complaint and arbitration request?

An ethics complaint charges that a REALTOR® or REALTOR-Associate 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).

Who can file an arbitration request?

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

Is there a time limit?

Yes. 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 in the exercise of reasonable diligence. Request 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 arbitration matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later.

Who should I give the complaint or request to?

The Chief Executive Officer of the Battle Creek Area Association of REALTORS®.

What should be included with ethics complaint or arbitration request?

Ethics ‚ An ethics complaint form must be completed and filed. In addition, a written statement of the facts (with appropriate documentation, if any) on which the complaint is based must also be included, dated, and signed by the complainant. The appropriate Article(s) as they pertain to the facts in the alleged violation must be cited in the complaint.

Arbitration ‚ An arbitration request form must be completed and submitted with details of the dispute and the deposit as set by the board (not to exceed $500, which may be refundable if the requester is found to be the prevailing party). In addition, include whatever documentation that may help to substantiate your position.

Are there certain Articles that can or can’t be cited?

Only Articles 1 through 17 may be the basis of a complaint. The Preamble is aspirational and establishes ideals that a REALTOR® should strive to attain. Because of its subjective nature, the Preamble may not be used as a basis for charges of alleged unethical conduct or as the basis for disciplinary action.

Can Standards of Practice be cited in an ethics complaint?

No. Standards of Practice may be cited only in support of the Article(s) that was allegedly violated.

Are there issues or complaints that should not be brought before a board/association of REALTORS®?

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

Is submitting to arbitration mandatory?

It depends on the circumstances. A REALTOR® may be obligated to arbitrate, or he/she may have a choice as to whether or not to voluntarily participate in an arbitration proceeding conducted by the Battle Creek Area Association of REALTORS®.

When is arbitration mandatory or voluntary?

Mandatory: When the dispute is between: 1) REALTORS® who are principal brokers* in different firms; 2) clients and REALTOR® principals.

Voluntary: 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 in another firm; 3) customers and REALTOR® principals.

*Principal Broker means: A principal, partner, corporate officer, or branch office manager of a real estate firm.

For more information about Code of Ethics and Professional Standards CLICK HERE.

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