This summary highlights substantive issues and changes, but is not all-inclusive. For complete information detailing all the changes see the 2017 Professional Standards Committee Minutes from the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo (May) and the REALTORS® Conference & Expo (November). Also review the shaded portions of the 2018 Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual which highlights all the changes.  

One Change to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

(underscoring indicates additions, strikeouts indicate deletions)

Standard of Practice 12-10 is amended as follows:

REALTORS’ obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet content posted, images, and the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits REALTORS® from:

  1. engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
  2. manipulating (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result;
  3. deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; or
  4. presenting content developed by others without either attribution or without permission; or
  5. to otherwise mislead consumers. otherwise misleading consumers, including use of misleading images.

Changes to the Code of Ethics & Arbitration Manual

(underscoring indicates additions, strikeouts indicate deletions)

  • Section 1, Definitions Relating to Ethics, and Section 26, Definitions Relating to Arbitration, are amended as follows:

(b) “ Board Association ” means this organization, either the ____________________ (local) Board/ Association of Realtors® or the _____________________ (state) Association of Realtors®. As used herein, the term “association(s)” refers to board(s) and association(s) of Realtors®.

  • Section 22 (a), Decision of the Hearing Panel, is amended as follows:

The decision of the Hearing Panel shall be by a simple majority vote and in writing (Form #E-11, Decision [Ethics], Part Six and the Professional Standards Training Guide) and shall contain findings of fact and a statement of the disciplinary action recommended, if any. Under no circumstances can the Board award money “damages” in an ethics proceeding. The decision shall include a clear, concise, and objective recitation of the specific facts upon which the Hearing Panel based its conclusion. Such decision shall not be disclosed during the ethics proceeding, or any appeal, to any persons except the Directors, the complainant, the respondent, Board legal counsel, and the Professional Standards Administrator. However, failure of confidentiality shall not invalidate the decision. The decision shall be filed with the Professional Standards Administrator the day of the hearing, or no later than forty-eight (48) hours following the hearing.** (Revised 11/14)

Any member of the Hearing Panel not voting with the majority may dissent from all or any portion of the findings or decision and may file a dissent in writing with the Professional Standards Administrator for consideration by the Directors at the same time the decision is considered. Copies of the decisions disseminated pursuant to these procedures shall be complete and unedited unless an Association, by affirmative action of its Board of Directors, adopts procedures under which decisions presented to the Board of Directors for ratification will not include the names of the parties. The dissenting opinion should also be provided to the parties. In the event the respondent is found in violation, the Hearing Panel will consider all records of previous violations and sanctions imposed, whether by the current or by any other Board or Association, in the member’s file in determining discipline, and the rationale for the current disciplinary action can be provided to the parties and the Directors as part of the decision. The Hearing Panel’s consideration will include whether prior disciplinary matters involve discipline that was held in abeyance and that will be triggered by a subsequent violation (including the matter currently under consideration by the Hearing Panel).

  • Section 23 (h), Action of the Board of Directors, is amended as follows:

(h) If the recommendation of the Hearing Panel is modified, or if the charge is dismissed, the Directors shall state their reasons in writing, but failure to do so shall not invalidate the decision of the Directors. Any Director not concurring with the decision of the other Directors shall be entitled to file a dissenting opinion which will be provided to the parties and to the Hearing Panel. Under no circumstances may the discipline exceed that recommended by the Hearing Panel.

  • Appendix I to Part Four, Rationale for the Board of Directors Reviewing and Ratifying Ethics Decisions, is amended as follows:

Alleged violations of the Code of Ethics are considered by Hearing Panels of the Professional Standards Committee of the Board or Association having jurisdiction. Part Four of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual provides that the decision of the Hearing Panel will be made by a majority vote and will be in writing, containing findings of fact, conclusions, and any discipline proposed. Any member of a Hearing Panel dissenting can write a separate opinion that will be provided to the parties and will be reviewed by the Board of Directors together with the Hearing Panel’s decision.

  • Subsection 6, Appendix V to Part Four, Ethics Hearing Checklist, is amended as follows:

(6) Preliminary review by Grievance Committee.The Grievance Committee may render its determination on the basis of the complaint received, or, it may, at its discretion, send a copy of the complaint to the party complained of and require him to furnish a response before making its determination as to the proper disposition of the complaint only if the committee is in need of additional information pertaining to the questions in Section 19, Grievance Committee’s Review of an Ethics Complaint, and the complainant cannot provide such information. This review process may include additional information other than the written complaint itself only if necessary to determine whether a complaint will be referred for hearing. Failure to respond to the Grievance Committee’s request may result in the complaint being forwarded for a hearing and in a possible charge that the respondent has not complied with the obligations of Article 14 of the Code of Ethics.

  • Subsection 27 and 37, Appendix V to Part Four, Ethics Hearing Checklist, is amended as follows:

(27) Dissenting opinion. Any member of the Hearing Panel may file a written dissent with the Professional Standards Administrator to be provided initially to the parties and ultimately to the Board of Directors with the decision and recommendation of the Hearing Panel. (Amended 11/98)

(37) Directors’ decision in writing. The Directors’ decision will be in writing , and any Director may file a dissenting opinion . As soon as the decision is in final form, but within five (5) days, it shall be provided to the parties and the Hearing Panel , including the dissenting opinion .

  • Summary of Administrative Time Frames – Ethics Proceedings, is amended as follows:

Next/special meeting giving 10 days minimum notice, but not later than 30 days after receipt of appeal ; Directors’ written decision transmitted to parties within 5 days of appeal hearing.

  • Chairperson’s Procedural Guide for Ethics Hearing is amended as follows:

(3) Present at this hearing is _________________________, the

complainant , and his/her sales associate(s) _______________. ...

(4) Also present at this hearing is _______________________, the respondent, and his/her sales associate(s) REALTOR® principal , _________________, consistent with Section 13 (if applicable)...

  • Form #E-20, Notice to Respondent (Ethics) and Optional Waiver of Right to Hearing, first page, is amended as follows:

Boards or Associations of REALTORS® where I hold or have held membership in the preceding three (3): ______________________________________________

  • Section 44 (a) (3), Duty and Privilege to Arbitrate, is amended as follows:

(3) A client of a Realtor® principal may invoke the arbitration facilities of the Board in a business dispute with a Realtor® principal or the Realtor®’s firm (or both) arising out of an agency relationship or legally recognized non-agency relationship, provided the client agrees to be bound by the arbitration. In the event of such request and agreement the Board will arbitrate the dispute subject to the provisions of Part Ten, Section 45. A Realtor® principal may also invoke arbitration against his client but no arbitration may be held without the client’s voluntary agreement to arbitrate and to be bound by the decision. (Amended 11/17)

  • Summary of Administrative Time Frames – Arbitration Proceedings is amended as follows:

Next/special meeting giving 10 days minimum notice, but not later than 30 days after receipt of procedural review request ; Directors’ transmit written decision within 5 days from the procedural review hearing.

  • The following arbitration forms were amended as follows:

Form #A-2, Request and Agreement to Arbitrate (Non Member)

The undersigned confirms that execution of this Agreement is wholly voluntary and, pursuant to this Agreement, agrees and promises to abide absolutely by the award of the Hearing Panel. In the event of adverse decision, I agree to, within ten (10) days following transmittal of the award, either (1) pay the award to the party(ies) named in the award of or (2) deposit the funds with the Professional Standards Administrator to be held in an escrow or trust account maintained for this purpose s consistent with Section 53, The Award, Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.

Form #A-5, Grievance Committee Request for Information (Arbitration Request)

The Grievance Committee requests the respondent provide a written response to the Request for Arbitration and Agreement to Arbitrate within fifteen 15 days of this notice being transmitted. If no response is filed within the time allotted, the Grievance Committee shall make its determination as to whether an arbitration hearing should be scheduled based upon the information set forth in the Request for Arbitration.

Form A-14, Official Notice of Procedural Review (Arbitration)

Either party may be represented by legal counsel, and each party is required to give the Board and the other party written notice of an intention to have counsel present ______ days before the hearing. Failure to provide this notice will not invalidate a party’s right to legal representation, but may result in a continuance of the hearing if the Appeal Procedural Review Tribunal determines that the rights of any other party require representation by legal counsel.

Form A-14(a), Decision of the Procedural Review Hearing Tribunal

A C c opy of the Award of Arbitrators is ( attached ) . was requested by ______________and was considered by t T he Procedural Review Tribunal met on __________________, 20__...

Form A-17, Mediation Resolution Agreement

Further, if the award agreement is judicially enforced, the non-complying party agrees to reimburse the other party for court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Form A-20, Appeal of Grievance Committee (or Hearing Panel) Dismissal or Appeal of Classification of Arbitration Request

I/we appeal the classification (mandatory or voluntary) of the above-referenced arbitration request.

  • New form, #A-17b, Arbitration Settlement Agreement, is added to the online forms.

Changes to Case Interpretations

Extensive changes have been made to NAR's Case Interpretations. These can be found within the Code of Ethics & Arbitration Manual.

Code of Ethics Training for New & Existing Members

View updated training requirements for both new members and existing members.