Enforcement of Rules, Section 1: Appropriate Procedures for Rules Enforcement (Policy Statement 7.21)

Filing Complaints

When requested by a complainant, MLSs must provide a process for processing complaints without revealing the complainant’s identity. If the complaint is forwarded to hearing, then the MLS Committee, Grievance Committee, MLS staff or other representative must serve as the complainant when the original complainant does not consent to participating in the process or the disclosure of his or her name.

Administrative Sanctions

In any instance where a participant in an association multiple listing service is charged with violation of the MLS bylaws or rules and regulations of the service, and such charge does not include alleged violations of the Code of Ethics or the Standards of Conduct for MLS participants, or a request for arbitration, the MLS may impose administrative sanctions. Recipients of an administrative sanction may request a hearing before the professional standards committee of the association.

MLS participants and subscribers can receive no more than three (3) administrative sanctions in a calendar year before they are required to attend a hearing for their actions and potential violations of MLS rules, except that the MLS may allow more administrative sanctions for violations of listing information provided by participants and subscribers before requiring a hearing. The MLS must send a copy of all administrative sanctions against a subscriber to the subscriber’s participant and the participant is required to attend the hearing of a subscriber who has received more than three (3) administrative sanctions within a calendar year.

Appeals

If the participant refuses to accept any sanction or discipline proposed, the circumstances and the discipline proposed shall be appealed to the board of directors of the association of REALTORS® which shall, if it deems the finding of violation proper and the sanction appropriate to the offense, delay the effective date of sanction until final entry by a court of competent jurisdiction in a suit filed by the association for declaratory relief, except in those states where declaratory relief is not available, declaring that the disciplinary action and proposed sanction violates no rights of the multiple listing service participant.

If the MLS committee has a procedure established to conduct hearings, the decision of the MLS committee may be appealed to the board of directors of the association of REALTORS®. If a separately incorporated MLS has an established procedure for the conduct of hearings, the decisions of the hearing tribunal shall be appealable to the board of directors of the MLS.

Complaints of Unethical Conduct

Alleged violations of the Code of Ethics or the Standards of Conduct for MLS participants shall be referred to the association’s grievance committee for processing in accordance with the professional standards procedures of the association. If the charge alleges a refusal to arbitrate, such charge shall be referred directly to the board of directors of the association of REALTORS®. (Amended 11/20) M

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