• Code of Ethics
  • REALTOR® Code of Ethics

    Boards and Associations of REALTORS® are responsible for enforcing the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics imposes duties above and in addition to those imposed by law or regulation which apply only to real estate professionals who choose to become REALTORS®.

    Many difficulties between real estate professionals (whether REALTORS® or not) result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication. If you have a problem with a real estate professional, 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.

    Before You File an Ethics Complaint

    If, after taking these steps, you still feel you have a grievance, you may want to consider filing an ethics complaint. You will want to keep in mind that…

    1. Only REALTORS® and REALTOR®-Associates are subject to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®.
    2. If the real estate professional (or their broker) you are dealing with is not a REALTOR®, your only recourse may be the state real estate licensing authority or the courts.
    3. Boards and Associations of REALTORS® determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, not whether the law or real estate regulations have been broken. Those decisions can only be made by the licensing authorities or the courts.
    4. Boards of REALTORS® can discipline REALTORS® for violating the Code of Ethics. Typical forms of discipline include attendance at courses and seminars designed to increase REALTORS®’ understanding of the ethical duties or other responsibilities of real estate professionals. REALTORS® may also be reprimanded, fined, or their membership can be suspended or terminated for serious or repeated violations. Boards and Associations of REALTORS® cannot require REALTORS® to pay money to parties filing ethics complaints; cannot award “punitive damages” for violations of the Code of Ethics; and cannot suspend or revoke a real estate professional’s license.
    5. The primary emphasis of discipline for ethical lapses is educational, to create a heightened awareness of and appreciation for the duties the Code imposes.

    Click here to read more information about the process of filing an ethics complaint.

    Steps for Filing an Ethics Complaint

    1. Make sure that the person you are filing against is a REALTOR®. If the person you would like to file a complaint against is not a REALTOR®, you must contact the Georgia Real Estate Commission at 404-656-3916 with your complaint.
    2. Review the Code of Ethics to determine which Article(s) you feel the REALTOR® has violated.
    3. Print and complete Form E-1. You are the complainant, and the REALTOR® that you are filing the complaint against is the respondent. You must write in the Article(s) of the Code of the Code of Ethics you think has been violated. Please date and provide all of your contact information that is listed on Form E-1.
    4. You must also write a detailed description of the events and send in any documentation that is relevant to your complaint.
    5. To file the complaint, please send in Form E-1, your detailed description and any documentation that is relevant to your complaint. You should email your entire complaint packet (Form E-1 and supporting documentation) to lmclean@garealtor.com as a single attachment. If you have any questions about the Ethics filing process, please contact Lillie McLean, Professional Standards Administrator at (678) 597-4114.
    6. If the circumstances giving rise to this ethics complaint involve civil or criminal litigation or are in any proceeding before the Georgia Real Estate Commission or any other state or federal regulatory or administrative agency, the complaint may have to be held in abeyance until these matters have been resolved.
    7. If you have any questions, please contact Lillie McLean, Professional Standards Administrator and Legal Affairs Specialist, at 678-597-4114.
    Arbitration Requests

    Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts. The parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the “arbitrators”, “arbiters,” or “arbitral tribunal”), whose decision (the “award”) they agree to be bound. It is a settlement technique in which a third party reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides.

    A Request for Arbitration must be filed: 1) after the real estate transaction giving rise to the dispute has been completed; 2) within six months after the facts constituting the Arbitration matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence; 3) by the broker of a real estate agency.

    Mediation vs. Arbitration

     

    Questions?

    Please contact Lillie McLean, Legal Affairs Specialist, at 678-597-4114 if you have any questions or to confirm that the real estate professional you have a complaint against is a REALTOR® member that the Georgia Association of REALTORS® has jurisdiction over.