REALTORS® are different from non-member licensees in that they voluntarily subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics. If you believe that a REALTOR® has violated one or more Articles of the Code of Ethics, you can file an ethics complaint alleging a violation(s) through the local association of REALTORS® where the REALTOR® holds membership, or participates in a REALTOR® association-owned/operated MLS.
In addition, REALTORS® agree as a condition of membership to arbitrate contractual disputes and specific non-contractual disputes as provided for in Article 17 of the NAR Code of Ethics.
Below are several resources to help you understand what filing and processing an ethics complaint and arbitration request entails, and the general process you can expect when filing an ethics complaint or arbitration request with the Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS®.
ETHICS COMPLAINTS Once an ethics complaint is filed with the Association, it is first reviewed by the Grievance Committee. The Grievance Committee’s role is to determine if the disciplinary complaint is appropriate for a hearing.
The Statue of Limitations is 180 days from the date of the alleged violation. Anyone can file an ethics complaint against a member of VCCAR. If yes warrants hearing: referred to the Professional Standards Committee. A hearing panel will be assembled from the committee and they will determine if there has been a violation of the Code of Ethics. They will also recommend the appropriate discipline.
- An ethics hearing only involves punishment for violation of the rules, either REALTOR® Code of Ethics or the MLS Rules and Regulations.
- Ethics complaints never involve the payment of money to the complainant, nor do they award damages. Any potential fine that is imposed, is paid directly to VCCAR..
If no does not warrant hearing; the complaint is dismissed. Without request for a review, the decision is final OR if unsatisfied with the decision, the party is entitled to request a review from the VCCAR Board of Directors.
Before You File an Ethics Complaint (NAR) This brochure explains alternatives to consider before filing an ethics complaint, as well as what to expect after filing a complaint.
ARBITRATION REQUESTS When a dispute arises between REALTOR® members for monetary reasons, arbitration is mandatory—but both parties may choose mediation first. Arbitrations decide who is entitled to money in a commission dispute and is conducted consistently with State law while respecting an individual’s right of due process.
The Statue of Limitations is 180 days from close of escrow. It is strongly recommended that both sides attempt to settle their dispute through mediation.
Upon receiving an arbitration filing against a REALTOR® member or MLS participant or subscriber, the complaint goes directly to the Professional Standards Committee.
- $500 filing fee paid by the complainant
- Dispute may take 3-4 months to resolve
- The panel will rule 100% in favor of one party
Arbitrators will decide who is entitled to the money in question based on evidence presented. This involves a formal hearing with witnesses and attorney’s may also be present.
Request For Review:
- Without a request for review, the decision is final and binding.
- With a request for review, parties are entitled to a request for review from the Board of Directors and a $500 filing fee applies.
Ombudsman is provided by C.A.R. The C.A.R. Ombudsmen are REALTORS® who volunteer their time to answer non-legal questions and resolve non-legal disputes. The C.A.R. Ombudsman Hotline is a free service that C.A.R. offers for its members. For more information visit: www.car.org/helplines/ombudsman