Code of Ethics/Arbitration – How to File a Complaint


By becoming and remaining a member of the National Association of REALTORS, REALTOR Principals are obligated to arbitrate business disputes (both contractual and specific non-contractual issues as defined by Standards of Practicewith REALTOR Principals in other firms or clients of REALTORS. Arbitration proceedings are conducted primarily by each local Member Board/Association of REALTORS*, as defined in Article 17 of the Code of Ethics and Part Ten, Sections 43 and 44 of The National Association of REALTORS Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.

Code of Ethics

It is the Code of Ethics that separates REALTORS&reg from other licensees and we take enforcement of the Code very seriously. Ethics complaints may be filed by REALTORS&reg or members of the public. Ethics complaints serve to educate members as well as provide a disciplinary process when violations have occurred. Any person having reason to believe that a member is guilty of any unethical conduct subject to disciplinary action may file a complaint in writing with the Local Board/Association of REALTORS&reg that the member holds membership in. Here is some additional information that you may want to know before you file a code of ethics complaint.

Filing a Complaint

If you are interested in filing a Code of Ethics or Arbitration complaint as set forth in the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the National Association of REALTORS&reg . It is the Ithaca Board of REALTORS&reg’ (Board) policy to offer a mediation conference prior to offering a formal hearing, and any agreement signed by the parties, pursuant to the mediation conference, shall be binding.

Commitment to the Code

The REALTOR Code of Ethics signifies the decision REALTORS make to commit themselves to honor and service. Since 1913, the Code has grown in meaningfulness, and value, and a commitment to integrity, and professionalism.

The National Association of REALTORS Professional Standards Committee developed a list of professional courtesies for REALTORS to use when dealing with other REALTORS as well as clients and customers on issues of courtesy or etiquette titled, “Pathways to Professionalism”. The list is intended to promote and encourage more professional conduct on the part of REALTORS, however, none of the items listed are enforceable as is the Code of Ethics.

Initiation of Procedures

A REALTOR Principal or Client of a REALTOR can initiate an arbitration by written request to the Executive Officer of the Board / Association or of which the REALTOR principal is a member, or participant in a Board’s MLS where they do not hold REALTOR membership providing a summary of the nature of the controversy and the monetary amount of the dispute. The determination as to whether an arbitrable matter exists shall be made by the local Board/Association’s Grievance Committee pursuant to those procedures outlined in Part 10, Section 47 of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual. Appeals of arbitration requests dismissed by the Grievance Committee and alleged misclassification of an issue as being subject to either voluntary or mandatory arbitration shall be considered by the Board of Directors of the local board or by a panel of Directors.

Upon the Grievance Committee’s determination as to whether the matter is properly arbitrable the parties shall be notified (generally within five (5) days) and the matter is referred to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing.