Understanding Ethics


As a condition of membership into the Gloucester Salem Counties Board of REALTORS®, the real estate licensee agrees to conduct their business according to the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics.  The 17 articles of the Code represent a promise of performance and professionalism by all who become REALTORS®.  As a result, the term REALTOR® has come to signify competency, fairness and high integrity.

Instructions for Filing an Ethics Complaint

For an ethics complaint to be processed, a formal complaint must be filed using the Ethics Complaint Form E-1. As you complete Form E-1, please refer to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS® to determine which Article(s) you believe have been violated. Your complaint must be submitted in writing with any supporting documentation or chronological summary of the events that occurred.  Once the Complaint  Form E-1 and supporting document is complete, submit it to the Gloucester Salem Board of REALTORS®

When the reply is received from the respondent by GSCBOR, the case is sent to the Grievance Committee for a review. This committee’s responsibility is to review the case, and based on a certain set of guidelines they must follow, will determine if the case should be referred to hearing or dismissed.

If the case is referred to a hearing, the GSCBOR Professional Standards Committee will appoint a panel to hear the case and determine if the Code of Ethics has been violated. If the panel determines there has been a violation, they will take disciplinary action. Disciplinary sanctions that can be imposed are strictly limited to those forms authorized in the NAR Code of Ethics Manual. They can include the completion of an education class on a given topic, fines, letters of warning and reprimand, suspension, or termination of membership (not termination of their real estate license.)

If referred to hearing, this process usually takes about three months, since reasonable time for responses, for action by the Grievance Committee, scheduling, etc. must be allowed.

 

NOTE – Many difficulties between REALTORS® result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication.  If you have a situation or problem with a REALTOR®, 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.

 

To access further information from the National Association of REALTORS® regarding ethics, click here

 

Click here for a copy of Form E-1 

 

FAQs – Ethics Complaints

Q: Is there a statute of limitations for filing ethics complaints?
A: Yes. 180 days from the time that you could have known there was a dispute.

Q: How do I know whether to file an ethics complaint or arbitration request?
A: Ethics complaints are filed about behavior; arbitration is requested when there is a commission or monetary dispute

Q: Can I file an arbitration request and an ethics complaint at the same time?
A: Yes. Both case types can be filed at the same time. However, if the cases go to a Professional Standards hearing, arbitration hearings are always held first.

Q: Is there a cost to file an ethics complaint?
A: No.

Q: I’d like to file a complaint, but am worried about confidentiality.
A: All ethics complaints are kept strictly confidential. Only staff involved in the administration of cases, along with the assigned members from the Grievance Committee and Professional Standards Hearing Panel, have access to ethics complaints.

 

Q: Will the person who I’m filing against be notified of my complaint?
A: Yes. When your complaint is submitted to GSCBOR, a courtesy copy of the complaint will be sent to the respondent.  If the Grievance Committee moves the complaint to PS for a hearing, a response from the respondent is then required. 

Q: How do I know which Article of the Code of Ethics to name in my complaint?
A: Each Article of the Code of Ethics includes Standards of Practice which explain the types of behavior covered by each Article.

Q: Do I name the Article or Standard of Practice in my complaint?
A: Only the Article of the Code.

Q: How do I know where to file the ethics complaint?
A: Ethics complaints are filed with the Board/Association where the responding party holds membership.

Q: Who establishes the rules that GSCBOR follows in handling ethics complaints?
A: The GSCBOR is required to follow the rules set forth in the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Q: How long does the process take?
A: If ethics complaints go to hearing, the process may take 3-4 months. This is because of the time that must be allowed for responses, proper notification, scheduling, etc.

Q: What happens if someone is found in violation of an Article of the Code of Ethics?
A: If the hearing panel finds that a member is in violation of the Code of Ethics, disciplinary sanctions can be imposed, but are strictly limited to those forms authorized in the NAR Code of Ethics Manual. They can include the completion of an education class on a given topic, letters of warning and reprimand, fines, suspension, or termination of membership.