Filing a Complaint
Even with the best intentions, planning and preparation occasional disagreements arise between REALTORS® or between REALTORS® and their clients. CORE Association of REALTORS® takes our commitment to professional and ethical business very seriously and promises to uphold the Code of Ethics. We are prepared to review ethics complaints and requests for arbitration in order to serve our members, their clients, and the real estate industry more effectively.
Many difficulties between real estate professionals (whether REALTORS® or not) result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication. If you have an issue with a real estate professional, you may want to discuss the issue with them or with a principal broker in their firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.
If, after discussing the issue with your real estate professional or a principal broker in that firm, you are still not satisfied, you may want to file a complaint.
CORE Association of REALTORS® also offers ombudsman and mediation services, which can be an excellent way to resolve disputes collaboratively in a faster and more flexible way.
The Code of Ethics ensures that REALTORS® adhere to a higher level of professionalism by outlining industry standards and expectations. Complaints about violations of the Code of Ethics must cite the Article(s) of the Code perceived to be violated using Ethics Complaint Form E-1. Complaints should include a supporting document in the form of a narrative or chronological summary of the events that occurred. This process helps our members, clients, and the industry by protecting the REALTORS® who adhere to principled practices and dealing formally who those who do not.
Once a complaint has been filed, it is presented to the Grievance Committee to review and determine if the complaint should be referred to a hearing or dismissed. If a hearing is needed, the chairperson from the Professional Standards Committee will schedule the hearing at a time convenient for all parties.
If the panel determines there has been a violation, they will take disciplinary action. Disciplinary sanctions can include the completion of an education class on a given topic, letters of warning and reprimand, suspension, or termination of membership. The hearing process usually takes about two months, which allows for a reasonable response time from all parties, action by the Grievance Committee, Professional Standards panel selection, scheduling, etc.
- Before Filing an Ethics Complaint (https://www.nar.realtor/code-of-ethics-and-arbitration-manual/part-4-appendix-x-before-you-file-an-ethics-complaint)
- Code of Ethics, (https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/governing-documents/code-of-ethics/2019-code-of-ethics-standards-of-practice)
- File a Complaint (https://www.nar.realtor/search-results?qu=E%231)
The Ombudsman Program in its simplest definition is informal telephone mediation. In some cases, it can address and solve minor complaints from the public. It can also solve inter-REALTOR® conflicts before they become serious problems. Like a mediator, an ombudsman helps parties find solutions.
Mediation is a form of facilitated negotiation in which an impartial third-party attempts to help disputing parties reach a mutually-satisfactory solution to their problems. CORE offers our members the opportunity to use mediation to resolve conflicts, and we ensure that the process is fair, flexible and confidential.
There are numerous benefits to choosing mediation. Since the mediation process is collaborative, not adversarial, it can help resolve issues while preserving positive relationships between al parties. Additionally, mediation often takes far less time and money than formal litigation.
The goal of a successful mediation is to have both parties come to a mutual agreement in writing upon the mediation’s conclusion. Once the agreement is signed, parties are legally bound to abide by its terms.
To file an arbitration, a request must be filed using the Request and Agreement to Arbitrate Form (https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/applications-and-forms/2016/CEAM/a1.pdf).
Your Request and Agreement to Arbitrate must include supporting documentation in the form of a narrative or chronological summary of the events that occurred and submitted to the CORE Professional Standards Administrator, long with a check for $500 payable to CORE Association of REALTORS® for the arbitration deposit.
A copy of your Request and Agreement to Arbitrate will then be sent to the respondent, who has 14 days to submit a response and deposit to CORE Association of REALTORS®. Once the response is received by the CORE Association of REALTORS®, the case is sent to the Grievance Committee for review. Based on the set of guidelines the Grievance Committee must follow, the committee will determine if the case should be referred to a hearing or dismissed. If the case is referred to a hearing, CORE Association of REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee will appoint a panel to hear the case and determine a resolution. Arbitration is binding.
The hearing is typically held at the CORE Association office and is set for a time convenient for all parties. If referred to a hearing, the process usually takes about two months, which allows for a reasonable response time from all parties, action by the Grievance Committee, Professional Standards panel selection, scheduling, etc.