Local Associations to Expose Ethics Violators

June 14, 2018

If a REALTOR® violates the Code of Ethics, the local association could identify the offender to the membership, releasing his or her name, photo, and a description of what was done wrong.

This policy change is based on a program the California Association of REALTORS® piloted for four years. During the pilot period, CAR found a marked decrease in ethics violations, says Deborah Dwyer, GRI, chair of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Professional Standards Committee and broker-owner of the Dwyer Agency in Pittsfield, Mass. The NAR Board of Directors last month voted to end the California program and turn it into a national program, which will start next year.

According to Dwyer, the change has long been sought by brokers, sales associates, and associations. “This is what people have been wanting for so long,” Dwyer says. “Right now, we don’t know who the violators are because it’s not published. We’re hoping that, once it starts happening and REALTORS® out there realize what can happen, they’ll be more professional.”

Information on violators will be accessible only to people within the violator’s association; it will not be released to consumers, she says. Dwyer adds that she expects all local associations to opt in to the new rules, so the program will truly be national in scope. “I can’t imagine why any association wouldn’t opt in,” she says.

Dwyer talks about the program in NAR’s latest Voice for Real Estate video. Also covered in the video is an update on the competition workshop the federal government held in Washington, D.C., in early June. The workshop was hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. About a dozen industry executives, academics, technologists, and legal specialists debated whether the residential brokerage industry is as competitive as it could be because of advances in technology. Views differed, but many of the participants agreed the industry has seen a lot of competition-driven change in the last decade, and by some estimates, more than half of all brokerages offer some kind of nontraditional service to consumers. That means most brokerages make an option available involving discounted fees, limited services, or a combination of the two.

—Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine