The Professional Standard that sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate practitioners is their acceptance and adherence to the Realtor Code of Ethics. The Code has been revised many times through the years to reflect current developments in professional real estate practice. But even with the best of intentions, planning and preparation, occasional disagreements arise between REALTORS® and/or between REALTORS® and their clients or customers. As civil litigation becomes increasingly costly, time consuming, and burdensome, there has been a trend among private parties to settle disputes and conflicting claims through alternative means.
'Mediation' is a mandatory step to take prior to arbitration. This is a free service. We have found that when mediation occurs the member tends to quickly settle in order to avoid any further issues – such as an arbitration request. There is no guarantee, and again, the REALTOR® can refuse to participate. However, there is no cost to initiating it, and after a refusal or failure of mediation, you can choose to follow it up with an arbitration request and/or ethics complaint.
An 'Arbitration Request', is centered around monetary disputes. In this method, the association (a specially trained panel of peers) will arbitrate the issue and determine if monetary compensation should be granted. We require a $500 deposit to initiate an arbitration request, which would be returned to you IF you win the case. If you lose, we keep the deposit. All REALTORS® are mandated to participate in confirmed arbitration requests, and refusal to do so can result in their expulsion from membership.
You can file both an Ethics Complaint and an Arbitration Request on the same issue, but we will hold off on processing the Ethics Complaint until the Arbitration process is completed.
- Discussion between the parties
- If an agreement can NOT be reached between the parties the issue will be sent to a hearing, however, no discussion at the mediation will be admissible at the formal hearing.
- Leave knowing the results.
- Formal hearing with witnesses, attorneys, three to five panel members, formal statements.
- Formal swearing in, testimony
- The panel decides who gets the money and there is no appeal-you get only one chance.
- Must wait for the results to be mailed as certified mail.