Professional Standards (The REALTORS® Code)
The Fayette County Board of REALTORS® is proud to adhere to and support the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics. It was one of the first ethical duties adopted by any business group. The Code ensures that consumers are served by requiring REALTORS® to cooperate with each other in furthering clients' best interests.
NAR's Code of Ethics lies at the heart of being a REALTOR®. Since its adoption in 1913, the Code has promoted time-honored principles that are generally defined as:
- Loyalty to clients
- Fiduciary duty to clients
- Cooperation with competitors
- Truthfulness in statements and advertising and non-interference in exclusive relationships that other REALTORS® have with their clients.
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.
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 . . .
~ Only REALTORS® and REALTOR-Associates are subject to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®.
~ 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.
~ 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.
~ 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; can-not award “punitive damages” for violations of the Code of Ethics; and cannot suspend or revoke a real estate professional’s license.
~ The primary emphasis of discipline for ethical lapses is educational, to create a heightened awareness of and appreciation for the duties the Code imposes. At the same time, more severe forms of discipline, including fines and suspension and termination of membership may be imposed for serious or repeated violations.
Ethics Complaint Process (Steps for Filing an Ethics Complaint)
Please contact Christina Chow, Director of Legal Affairs at 678-597-4128 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- If you believe a REALTOR® has violated the code or the law there are various ways you can attempt to resolve the complaint.
- The Georgia Association of REALTORS is responsible for enforcing the Code of Ethics for FCBR as part of the Statewide Professional Standards Cooperative Agreement, which services 47 of the 54 Boards in the state.
- To report a potential violation of the Code involving a member of our Board, please contact GAR at 770.451.1831.
- The Georgia Real Estate Commission is responsible for enforcing license law, not the local or state association.
The single, most outstanding characteristic that sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate practitioners is the willingness to accept and abide by the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®. The Code of Ethics, which was first adopted on July 29, 1913, is a living document, responsive in its content to changes in the law and industry.
The term REALTOR® has come to represent competency, honesty and high integrity. These qualities stem from voluntary adherence to an ideal of moral conduct in real estate business practices.
What does this mean to you?
It means that any REALTOR® with whom you work with has voluntarily agreed to abide by a Code of Ethics, based on professionalism and protection of the public. But even with the best of intentions, planning and preparation, occasional disagreements arise between REALTORS® and/or between REALTORS® and their clients or customers.
Fayette County Board of REALTORS® offers its members and their clients and customers a vehicle to economically expedite ethics complaints and /or arbitration requests without going to court. If a monetary dispute arises from a real state transaction or if you believe a REALTOR may have acted in an unethical manner, seek a resolution through the Fayette County Board of REALTORS® (via GAR). Ethics complaints that are brought before the board give those parties involved an opportunity to be educated about the Code. In addition, REALTORS® are judged by their peers as opposed to other individuals who may be far less familiar with the practices and customers of the real estate industry.
Ethics Complaints, Arbitration, and Mediation Requests
If you are considering filing a formal complaint, please review the following documents and use the filing forms provided here to start the process.
Please contact Christina Chow, Director of Legal Affairs at 678-597-4128 or email@example.com if you have any questions about the Ethics and/or Arbitration process.
REALTORS’ Pathways to Professionalism
For more information about the Ethics and Arbitration process from the National Association of REALTORS®, please click NAR Professional Standards