2017 Summary of Key Membership Policy Changes

Previous years' changes to membership and jurisdiction policies can be viewed here.

Changes to Article V, Section 3 of the Model Board Bylaws: At the 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, the NAR Board of Directors approved mandatory amendments to the Article V, Section 3 of the Model Board Bylaws to eliminate the outdated practice of noticing applications for REALTOR® membership to all association members.

Option 1:  For associations that do not offer provisional membership.

Section 3. Election

The procedure for election to membership shall be as follows.

(a) The membership committee shall determine whether the applicant is applying for the appropriate class of membership.  It shall then give written notice to the REALTOR® members of such application and invite written comment.  If one or more of the REALTOR® members object to the approval of the application, basing such objection on lack of qualification as set forth in these Bylaws, the committee shall invite any objecting member to appear and substantiate his/her objections.  Objections, which are not substantiated, shall be totally disregarded.  The committee may not find objections substantiated without (1) informing the applicant in advance, in writing, of the objections and identifying the objecting Member, and (2) giving the applicant a full opportunity to appear before the committee and establish his/her qualifications.  The committee shall thereafter make a written report of its findings.  The membership committee shall conduct all proceedings with strict attention to the principles of due process and compliance with the Bylaws of the association.

(b) Thereafter, within _____ days, the membership committee shall report its recommendation to the board of directors in writing.  If the recommendation is adverse to the approval of the application, the reasons shall be specifically stated.  If any member of the membership committee submits a dissenting recommendation, it shall also be reported to the board of directors.

(c) The board of directors shall review the qualifications of the applicant and the recommendations of the committee and then vote on the applicant's eligibility for membership.  If the applicant receives a majority vote of the board of directors, he/she shall be declared elected to membership and shall be advised by written notice.

(d) The board of directors may not reject an application without providing the applicant with advance notice of the findings and recommendations of the membership committee, an opportunity to appear before the board of directors, to call witnesses on his/her behalf, to be represented by counsel, and to make such statements as he/she deems relevant. The board of directors may also have counsel present. The board of directors shall require that written minutes be made of any hearing before it or may electronically or mechanically record the proceedings.

(e) If the board of directors determines that the application should be rejected, it shall record its reasons with the secretary/chief staff executive [select one]. If the board of directors believes that denial of membership to the applicant may become the basis of litigation and a claim of damage by the applicant, it may specify that denial shall become effective upon entry in a suit by the association for a declaratory judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction of a final judgment declaring that the rejection violates no rights of the applicant. (Amended 1/05)

Section 3. Election

The procedure for election to membership shall be as follows.

(a) The chief staff executive (or duly authorized designee) shall determine whether the applicant is applying for the appropriate class of membership. If the association has adopted provisional membership, applicants for REALTOR® membership may be granted provisional membership immediately upon submission of a completed application form and remittance of applicable association dues and any application fee.  Provisional members shall be considered REALTORS® and shall be subject to all of the same privileges and obligations of membership.  Provisional membership is granted subject to final review of the application by the board of directors. 

(b) If the board of directors determines that the individual does not meet all of the qualifications for membership as established in the association's Bylaws, or, if the individual does not satisfy all of the requirements of membership (for example, completion of a mandatory orientation program) within _________ days from the association's receipt of their application, membership may, at the discretion of the board of directors, be terminated. In such instances, dues shall be returned to the individual less a prorated amount to cover the number of days that the individual received association services and any application fee. The board of directors shall vote on the applicant's eligibility for membership. If the applicant receives a majority vote of the board of directors, he/she shall be declared elected to membership and shall be advised by written notice.

(c) The board of directors may not reject an application without providing the applicant with advance notice of the findings, an opportunity to appear before the board of directors, to call witnesses on his/her behalf, to be represented by counsel, and to make such statements as he/she deems relevant.  The board of directors may also have counsel present.  The board of directors shall require that written minutes be made of any hearing before it or may electronically or mechanically record the proceedings.

(d) If the board of directors determines that the application should be rejected, it shall record its reasons with the chief staff executive (or duly authorized designee).  If the board of directors believes that denial of membership to the applicant may become the basis of litigation and a claim of damage by the applicant, it may specify that denial shall become effective upon entry in a suit by the association for a declaratory judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction of a final judgment declaring that the rejection violates no rights of the applicant. (Adopted 1/98, Amended 1/05)

Changes to Article V, Section 5. At the November, 2014 meeting, the NAR Board of Directors approved mandatory biennial education on the Code of Ethics for REALTOR® members beginning January 1, 2017. To facilitate this requirement, the NAR Model Bylaws for Local Member Boards must be amended.

Section 5. REALTOR® Code of Ethics Training

Effective January 1, 2001 2017, through December 31, 2004 2018, and for successive four two year periods thereafter, each REALTOR® member of the association (with the exception of REALTOR® members granted REALTOR® Emeritus status by the National Association) shall be required to complete quadrennial ethics training of not less than two (2) hours and thirty (30) minutes of instructional time.  This requirement will be satisfied upon presentation of documentation that the member has completed a course of instruction conducted by this or another association, the State Association of REALTORS®, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, or any other recognized educational institution or provider which meets the learning objectives and minimum criteria established by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® from time to time.  REALTOR® members who have completed training as a requirement of membership in another association and REALTOR® members who have completed the New Member Code of Ethics Orientation during any four (4)- two (2) year cycle shall not be required to complete additional ethics training until a new four (4)- two (2) year cycle commences.

Failure to satisfy the required periodic ethics training shall be considered a violation of a membership duty.  Failure to meet the requirement for the second (2005 through 2008) cycle and subsequent four (4)-year cycles in any two (2) year cycle will result in suspension of membership for the first two months (January and February) of the year following the end of any four (4)- two (2) cycle or until the requirement is met, whichever occurs sooner.  On March 1 of that year, the membership of a member who is still suspended as of that date will be automatically terminated. (Adopted 1/01, Amended 11/08, Amended 11/2016)

Changes to Article VI, Section 5 of the Model Board Bylaws:  At the 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, the NAR Board of Directors approved mandatory amendments to Section 20(e), Initiating an Ethics Hearing, Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual, to create an additional, effective way of ensuring accountability on the part of terminated or resigned respondents by holding an ethics hearing, at which their participation would be voluntary, and holding any ensuing discipline in abeyance until the member rejoined an association of REALTORS®. These amendments change the language of Article VI, Section 5 of the NAR Model Bylaws for Local Member Boards. 

Section 5

If a member resigns from the association or otherwise causes membership to terminate with an ethics complaint pending, that board of directors may condition the right of the resigning member to reapply for membership upon the applicant's certification that he/she will submit to the pending ethics proceeding and will abide by the decision of the hearing panel the complaint shall be processed until the decision of the association with respect to disposition of the complaint is final by this association (if respondent does not hold membership in any other association) or by any other association in which the respondent continues to hold membership. If an ethics respondent resigns or otherwise causes membership in all Boards to terminate before an ethics complaint is filed alleging unethical conduct occurred while the respondent was a REALTOR®, the complaint, once filed, shall be processed until the decision of the association with respect to disposition of the complaint is final. In any instance where an ethics hearing is held subsequent to an ethic respondent’s resignation or membership termination, any discipline ratified by the Board of Directors shall be held in abeyance until such time as the respondent rejoins an association of REALTORS®.

(a) If a member resigns or otherwise causes membership to terminate, the duty to submit to arbitration (or to mediation if required by the association) continues in effect even after membership lapses or is terminated, provided that the dispute arose while the former member was a REALTOR®. (Amended 1/00 and 11/11)

Changes to the Procedure for Approving Names of Associations: At the 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, the NAR Board of Directors approved amendments to the Procedure for Approving Names of Associations to authorize administrative approval of name change applications from a state association when the state name is being shortened to the abbreviation for that state.

Changes to the Model Application for REALTOR® Membership: At the 2016 REALTORS® Conference and Expo, the NAR Board of Directors approved amendments to the Model Application for REALTOR® Membership for use by local and state associations. The application was amended to obtain express consent by a member to be contacted via text message and to also acknowledge the license to use the term REALTOR® granted by the National Association of REALTORS®.

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