Resolving a Dispute
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. You may search for a member’s local affiliation here.
Some of the basic principles of the Code of Ethics include:
Protect and promote your client's interest, but be honest with all parties.
REALTORS® shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public.
Assure, whenever possible, that transaction details are in writing.
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 a local association of REALTORS®.
If you find yourself in a position where you need to file a complaint, or would just like more information on what is involved in the process, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mid-Valley Association of REALTORS® can only enforce the Code of Ethics. If you believe your situation is a possible licensing issue, please contact Oregon's consumer protection agency and licensing authority for real estate licensees, the Oregon Real Estate Agency in Salem.
To obtain NAR's procedural guide, click here for the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.
Filing an Ethic Complaint
Complete Ethics Complaint E-1 Form
Give the name of the Respondent (the REALTOR® you are filing the complaint against).
Indicate which of the 17 Code of Ethics Articles you feel have been violated.
Attach a written summary of the situation and any documentation (such as listing agreements, purchase agreements, buyer contracts or disclosure forms) which support your complaint.
Make sure you sign and date the document.
Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the time that the alleged offense and facts relating to it could have been known by the complainant in the exercise of reasonable diligence or within 180 days after the conclusion of the transaction or event, whichever is later.
Once you have completed the proper form, mail it to the Professional Standards Administrator of the appropriate local board.
After you have taken the steps above, your complaint will be reviewed by a grievance committee. This committee will decide if there are grounds for a Professional Standards hearing. If the complaint moves to the hearing phase, you will be sent additional information regarding that process.
If you're not sure whether or not your concern relates specifically to conduct governed by the Code of Ethics and it's related to transactional issues, real estate practices, technical or procedural matters, then the Ombudsman Process might be the right avenue for you. Using this process may resolve the the issue prior to it becoming a formal complaint.
The Ombudsman Program in its simplest definition is informal telephone mediation. In some cases it can address and solve minor complaints from the public. It can also solve inter-REALTOR® conflicts before they become serious problems. Like a mediator, an ombudsman helps parties find solutions.
Disputes - Buyers & Sellers
There are a variety of options to resolve conflicts that arise from real estate transactions. If you are a buyer or seller that has a dispute with a REALTOR®, visit the following pages for more information:
1. Attorney - You may wish to discuss your situation with an attorney. An attorney can give you advice and counsel, and help you resolve the matter without having to proceed to mediation or arbitration. The Oregon State Bar can refer you to an attorney who specializes in real estate matters. Their referral service is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 1.800.452.7636.
2. Oregon Small Claims Court - the real estate agreement published by Oregon Real Estate Forms, LLC, provides that in the event of a dispute, all claims within the $10,000 jurisdictional limit of the Oregon Small Claims Court shall be brought and decided there, in lieu of medication, arbitration, or litigation in any court of law.
Arbitration / Mediation
Mid-Valley Association of REALTORS® can also provide mediation and/or arbitration services for commission disputes between REALTORS® and, in certain situations, between a REALTOR® and their client. We cannot provide mediation and/or arbitration services for monetary disputes between a buyer and seller.
The Oregon Association of REALTORS® Legal Hotline provides subscribers the opportunity to ask real estate-related questions of an attorney specializing in real estate and contract law. OAR can support member subscribers on a variety of topics including disclosure, license law, contracts and offers.
The cost for a one year Legal Hotline subscription is $125 per individual subscription. The Legal Hotline is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (except during NAR and OAR conventions). Subscribers may email questions to the Legal Hotline at any time and can expect an answer within 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays). Changes in license status or brokerage will not affect an individual’s subscription or access to the Legal Hotline.
To subscribe to the Legal Hotline, please complete the Legal Hotline form here on the OAR website. If you have any questions, please contact OAR at (503) 362-3645.