PAG Report Puts Punch in Code

REALTORS® value the Code of Ethics and care deeply about increasing their professionalism both in transactions and in the eyes of the public.

October 1, 1998

In NAR surveys, you continually rank the Code as one of the main reasons you belong to the REALTOR® organization. And in recent surveys, you've told us you want more guidance in ethical practices, stricter enforcement of ethical guidelines, more uniform enforcement, and more ethics education.

So last year, NAR established a Presidential Advisory Group on Code of Ethics Enforcement. The PAG was asked to determine how the Code is enforced; develop strategies to help local associations understand their role in Code enforcement and act on complaints; and increase awareness of ethics. According to PAG chair Steve Hoover, “Through communication with all segments of the REALTOR® organization, we’re working to ensure that the Code of Ethics is enforced in a consistent manner and remains a relevant guide for REALTORS® in their everyday business practice.”

In its draft report last April, the PAG made 16 recommendations addressing important ethics issues and what NAR should do. Among the recommendations:

  • Make ethics orientation mandatory for all members.
  • Set standard national guidelines for imposing appropriate discipline for Code violations.
  • Make it an affirmative membership duty to report potential violations of the Code.
  • Establish a national database to assess enforcement and identify ethics issues and trends.
  • Take an aggressive role in ensuring that local associations meet enforcement obligations, and publish charter revocation procedures that may be invoked should they fail to enforce the Code
  • Develop alternative enforcement procedures, including use of trained hearing officers, mediation, and ombudsmen.

The PAG will submit its final report this fall. In the coming months, various writers of this column will explore ethics issues that are important to real estate professionals. The subjects will be everyday issues, such as commission entitlement, disclosure, handling multiple offers, and confidentiality, as well as filing complaints and understanding the professional standards process.

Ethics is at the very heart of our association. Our Code and enforcement guidelines are the primary reasons we’re recognized today as a profession, not simply an industry. Safeguarding that professional status is of utmost importance.

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