The National Association of REALTORS® adopted its Code of Ethics in 1913, imposing duties above and in addition to those imposed by law and regulation. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®; only those agents who belong to their local Association of REALTORS® may claim this designation. With the REALTOR® designation comes the obligation to abide by professional behavior to clients, customers, the public and fellow real estate professionals detailed in the Code of Ethics. It is because of this obligation to the Code of Ethics that you may file a complaint with the Association. To determine whether an agent is a REALTOR®, please call the Association for verification.
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 a principal broker in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.
If you are still not satisfied after discussing matters with your real estate professional or a principal broker in that firm, you may want to contact the local board or Association of REALTORS®. Many boards and associations have informal dispute resolving processes available to consumers (e.g., ombudspersons, mediation, etc.).
Read more here: Before you file an Ethics Complaint
To file a complaint you must first decide what type of complaint to file:
- Complete, sign and date the Ethics Complaint Form, which you may download and print here. (Ethics complaints must be filed with the Board within 180 days of the time the complainant knew– or reasonably should have known—that potentially unethical conduct took place).
- Check the Article(s) of the Code of Ethics believed violated. The articles are illustrated through Standards of Practice, but the Standard of Practice may only be used as support for the Article(s) being charged. The Article number(s) must be cited.
- Include a narrative description of the circumstances and facts surrounding the complaint, being as specific as possible.
- Please attach copies of all relevant documents such as listing and sales contracts, letters etc. labeling these as Exhibit 1, etc.
- Make 3 copies of the complaint package and forward it to the Professional Standards Coordinator of the Association which has jurisdiction over the complainant.