PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS: ETHICS & ARBITRATION
Boards and Associations of REALTORS® are responsible for enforcing the REALTORS® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics imposes duties about and in addition to those imposed by the law or regulation which apply only to real estate professionals who become REALTORS®.
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, after these steps, you still feel you have a grievance, you want to consider filing an ethics complaint. Please keep in mind the following:
- Only REALTORS® and REALTOR® Associates are subject to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®.
- If the real estate professional (or their broker) you are dealing with is not a REALTOR®, your only recourse may be the state real estate licensing authority or the courts.
- Boards and Associations of REALTORS® determine whether the Code of Ethics have been violated, not whether the law or real estate regulations have been broken. Those decisions can only be made by the licensing authorities or the courts.
- Boards of REALTORS® can discipline REALTORS® for violating the Code of Ethics. Typical forms of discipline include attendance at courses and seminars designed to increase REALTORS® understanding of the ethical duties or other responsibilities of real estate professionals. REALTORS® may also be reprimanded, fined, or their membership can be suspended or terminated for serious or repeated violations. Boards and Associations of REALTORS® cannot require REALTORS to pay money to parties filing ethics complaints; cannot award “punitive damages” for violations of the Code of Ethics; and cannot suspend or revoke a real estate professional’s license.
- The primary emphasis of discipline for ethical lapses is educational, to create a heightened awareness of and appreciation for the duties the Code imposes. At the same time, more severe forms of discipline, including fines and suspension and termination of membership may be imposed for serious or repeated violations.
Steps for filing an Ethics Complaint:
- Make sure the individual you are filing a complaint against is a REALTOR®. If the individual is not a REALTOR®, you must contact the Georgia Real Estate Commission at 404.656.3916 with your complaint.
- Review the Code of Ethics to determine with Article(s) you feel the REALTOR® has violated.
- Print and complete the Ethics Complaint Form (E-1) has listed with a link below. You are the complainant, and the REALTOR® you are filing the complaint against is the respondent. You must write in the Article(s) of the Code of Ethics you feel has been violated. Please sign, date, and provide all your contact information listed on the form.
- Please give a detailed description of the events and send in any extra documentation which is relevant to your complaint.
- To file the complaint, please send in the E-1 Form, your detailed description of the events and any extra documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If the circumstances given involve civil or criminal litigation or are in any proceedings before the Georgia Real Estate Commission or any other state or federal regulatory or administrative agency, the complaint may have to be held in abeyance until these matters have been resolved.
Please contact Stacie Adkins at 706-736-0429 if you have any questions or to confirm if the Real Estate Professional you have a complaint against is a REALTOR® member which the REALTORS® of Greater Augusta has jurisdiction over.
Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution, is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts. The parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the “arbitrators, arbiters or arbitral tribunal), whose decision (the award) they agree to be bound. It is a settlement technique in which a third party reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides.
A Request for Arbitration must be filed: 1) after the real estate transaction giving rise to the dispute has been completed; 2) within six months after the facts constituting the Arbitration matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence; 3) by the broker of a real estate agency.
To find out more about the Ethics and Arbitration process and Code of Ethics from the National Association of REALTORS®, please click here.
Code of Ethics & Forms
- 2024 Code of Ethics & Standard Practices of the National Association of REALTORS®: Please review this file to use when completing the Ethics Complaint Form (E1). Articles in this file are to be cited on the Ethics Complaint Form as possible violations. It is not necessary to cite any Standards of Practice, although you may reference these practices in your explanation.
- Ethics Complaint Form E1: Please use this form when filing an Ethics Complaint against a RGA member citing the Article(s) in the 2020 National Association of REALTORS Code of Ethics. You are the complaintant and the REALTOR you are filing the complaint against is the Respondent. Upon completion and a detailed explanation of the complaint, please send all documents to email@example.com, and the RGA Grievance Committee will review and make a preliminary evaluation for dismissal or recommendation of a Professional Standards Hearing. The Grievance committee does not hold hearings or decide if a violation of the Code of Ethics has occurred.
- Request to Arbitrate & Agreement Form A1: Please use this form to file an Arbitration Request between RGA members. Upon completion, please send the request to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the RGA Grievance Committee will review for dismissal or recommendation of a Professional Standards Hearing.