Code of Ethics Enforcement Processes
The Code of Ethics was adopted by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® in 1913 and has been amended throughout the years to accommodate the ever-changing real estate industry. The local board professional standards review process is one of the most important benefits of REALTOR® membership. Those who pledge to uphold the Code, depend on the association to enforce the Code and educate Board members of their obligations of REALTOR® membership. The Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS® has various options for Code of Ethics enforcement and addressing complaints that may or may not be possible infractions of the Code.
Ombudsman Program: The Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS® has implemented an Ombudsman program that can address issues which are generally initiated via email or phone call to the Board and may or may not have been submitted on the Board’s official ethics complaint form.
Some complaints are transactional, technical or procedural questions. Some may not fall under the scope of the Code of Ethics, but in being addressed, can produce a positive outcome for all parties involved. An Ombudsman helps parties find solutions.
Ethics Complaint: A formal ethics complaint is filed with the Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS® using the ethics complaint form. Formal ethics complaints must fall under the Code of Ethics. When a formal ethics complaint is filed, options for addressing the complaint are available – Ombudsman, Mediation, Citation, Hearing.
Citation System: The Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS® has a Citation System in place for some violations of the Code of Ethics. This process is voluntary on the part of the REALTOR® (Respondent), who has the option to either accept the citation and pay the fine or decline the citation and proceed with the remaining options for addressing complaints.
Ethics Mediation: Another optional method for addressing complaints filed with the Board is Ethics Mediation. Ethics mediation can be initiated via a written request by the complainant by selecting Ethics Mediation on the ethics complaint form or by submitting a request using the form provided below. Ethics Mediation is more formal than the Ombudsman service, but less formal than a hearing. With Ethics Mediation, the parties come together and a mediator assists them in reaching a resolution to the matter. If no agreement is reached, the complaint can proceed to a formal hearing.
A Formal Ethics Hearing is scheduled when the parties to a formal complaint pertaining to the Code of Ethics either do not want to participate in mediation or the respondent does not accept a citation and makes a request to be heard by a hearing panel.
The Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS® strives to promote professionalism among its members. When a member does not abide by the Code of Ethics, it affects the entire REALTOR® organization. If you have any questions regarding the jurisdiction of the Board or the complaint process, call us at (513) 842-3012.
If you are experiencing a problem with a REALTOR® that is legal in nature or if it pertains to a contractual issue, it is suggested that you contact an attorney.