Professional Standards: Code of Ethics Enforcement
REALTORS® are different from non-member licensees in that they voluntarily subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics. If you believe that a REALTOR® has violated one or more Articles of the Code of Ethics, you can file an ethics complaint alleging a violation(s) through the local association of REALTORS® where the REALTOR® holds membership, or participates in a REALTOR® association-owned/operated MLS.
Some of the basic principles of the Code of Ethics include:
- Protect and promote your client’s interest, but be honest with all parties.
- REALTORS® shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public.
- Assure, whenever possible, that transaction details are in writing.
Download a copy of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics.
The National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics, professional standards, and mediation resources.
Each Local Association or Board is responsible for enforcing the REALTORS® Code of Ethics. Any person having reason to believe that a REALTOR® is guilty of violating the Code of Ethics may file a complaint.
Many ethics complaints result from misunderstanding or a breakdown in communication. Before filing an ethics complaint, you may want to make reasonable efforts to communicate with the REALTOR® or a managing principal broker in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action. If these efforts do not resolve the issue, the Local Association/Board can provide options for dispute resolution, including the procedures and forms necessary to file an ethics complaint.
- Guide to Filing an Ethics Complaint and Form E-1
- NAR’s procedural guide, the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual
An Ombudsman can field and respond to an array of inquiries and complaints, including general questions regarding real estate practices, transaction details, ethical practices and enforcement issues. They can open lines of communication between the public and REALTORS®, and between REALTORS® themselves, in an attempt to resolve misunderstandings before they evolve into larger disputes and charges of unethical conduct.
You may wish to discuss your situation with an attorney. An attorney can give you advice and counsel, and help you resolve the matter without having to proceed to mediation or arbitration.
The OREGON STATE BAR can refer you to an attorney who specializes in real estate matters. Their referral service is available Monday through Friday, 9:00AM to 5:00PM, at 800-452-7636.
- Oregon Small Claims Court
The real estate sale agreement published by Oregon Real Estate Forms, LLC, provides that in the event of a dispute, all claims within the $10,000 jurisdictional limit of the OREGON SMALL CLAIMS COURT shall be brought and decided there, in lieu of mediation, arbitration, or litigation in any court of law.
Mediation is a voluntary process which people in dispute (over $10,000) can use to reach an agreement. With the help of an impartial mediator they work toward a mutually acceptable solution. If you have talked with your REALTOR® and the managing principal broker, and have made every effort to resolve your dispute, you can submit a request for mediation.
If mediation is not successful, clients of REALTORS® may decide to arbitrate disputes arising out of a real estate transaction. The dispute will be decided outside of the courts, by the arbitrator, who renders a written decision An arbitration award is legally binding on both sides and enforceable in court. See BENEFITS OF PRIVATE ARBITRATION for more information.