Professional Standards Resources
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Additional Professional Standards Information
State and local REALTOR® associations are responsible for enforcing NAR’s Code of Ethics through their Professional Standards Committees. These committees may also enforce the their organization’s MLS Rules and Membership responsibilities.
- The main difference between ethics and arbitration complaints is REALTORS® can only receive disciplinary verdicts in ethics complaints. Verdicts in Arbitration Complaints can include disciplinary and monetary judgments.
- Only REALTORS® are subject to NAR’s Code of Ethics.
- REALTOR® associations can only determine whether NAR’s Code of Ethics or their MLS Rules have been violated. State licensing authorities and courts make the decisions on whether the law or regulations have been broken.
- REALTOR® associations can discipline REALTORS® for violating NAR’s Code of Ethics, their MLS Rules, and other membership responsibilities.
- The typical forms of discipline include required attendance at courses and seminars designed to increase REALTORS® understanding of the ethical duties or other responsibilities of real estate professionals. Verdicts can also include reprimands and fines, as well as suspension or termination for serious or repeat violations.
- REALTOR® associations cannot require members to pay money to the parties filing ethics complaints, award “punitive damages” for violations, or suspend / revoke a real estate professional’s license.
Statewide Suspension/Expulsion Program
At their 2012 mid-year meeting, the NAR Professional Standards Committee approved a motion to allow California to adopt a procedure for implementation of a pilot program (2-years), so that a suspension or expulsion, imposed by a local A.O.R. for violation of the Code of Ethics, shall be reported to C.A.R. to be reviewed by a panel of state directors, and possibly imposed on a state-wide basis.
Bay East is participating in this program.
- If you are suspended or expelled by your local association as a result of conduct that is in violation of the Code of Ethics, your association will file with C.A.R. a Suspension/Expulsion Report, which names you as respondent. The Report will be reviewed by C.A.R. and referred for hearing before a panel of three (3) C.A.R. Directors, to determine whether the suspension or expulsion should be imposed on a statewide basis.
- You will be given an opportunity to file a written statement explaining why you believe the suspension or expulsion should not be imposed on a statewide basis.There will be no hearing for you to attend with C.A.R. A panel of C.A.R. Directors, in a closed session, will consider the documents submitted by your local association, along with your written response, and will determine whether to impose your suspension or expulsion on a statewide basis.
- The decision made by the Directors at such a hearing does not disturb the findings or recommended discipline of the local Association that initially imposed the discipline, but only determines whether or not there is a state-wide imposition of the same discipline. A decision by C.A.R. to impose the suspension or expulsion state-wide shall be disseminated to all participating associations in the state.
New Procedure for Obtaining Member Photos for Publication of Ethics Discipline
The current C.A.R. policy is to publish photos of members who are disciplined for ethics violations with a fine, reprimand, probation, suspension, or expulsion. The process for obtaining this photo has been changed as follows:
- After being found in violation of a publishable offense, a disciplined member will provide a photo to C.A.R. and the local Association within 10 calendar days after final adoption of the discipline recommendation by the local Association’s Board of Directors.
- The member will provide a photo that is current, accurate and at least the size and quality of a passport photo along with a restatement of the authorization to use the photo in the new Form D-24.
- Members may simply take a digital photo, as long as it is of sufficient quality and size, and email it to the association along with Form D-24.
- Failure to provide the authorization with a photo in a timely manner will result in suspension of membership until the authorization form and photo are provided.
- The disciplined member must own or have right to use the submitted photo and must provide a license to use the photo consistent with the Manual’s publication requirements.
- C.A.R. will publish a discipline summary without a photo if the photo has not been received in time and will include a note with the summary that the member was suspended for refusal to provide a photo.