REALTORS® are bound by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Code of Ethics and guided by Pathways to Professionalism . NAR charges local boards with the responsibility of enforcing standards for professional conduct within the board's membership. Medina County Board of REALTORS® (MCBOR) is part of a tri-county agreement with Ashland Board of REALTORS® and Wayne Holmes Association of REALTORS®. Members from all three Boards are represented on the Grievance and Professional Standards Committees, responsible for ensuring due process is afforded to all parties. Any professional standards complaint received, as well as any material related to a complaint, is considered to be strictly confidential in nature.
To view or download the most current Code of Ethics, click here to visit the nar.realtor Code of Ethics webpage , which also includes translations of the Code of Ethics and changes to the Code from the previous version.
When members do not abide by the Code of Ethics, a complaint may be filed by another REALTOR® or the public. There are two types of complaints that may be filed:
Ethics - Alleged violations by a member of one or more of the 17 Articles of the Code of Ethics. These may be specific provisions or conduct governed by the code.
Arbitration – Disputes over a monetary transaction (e.g. real estate commission) or a monetary claim arising out of a contractual dispute. This can be between REALTORS® and other REALTORS®, or between REALTORS® and their customers or clients.
Where to Start
Before filing a complaint, discuss the issue with the real estate professional, their manager or the principal broker. You may find that an open discussion provides satisfactory resolution. If that is not successful, contact MCBOR and speak with the Professional Standards Administrator. The Administrator will explain the informal resolution process, outlined below, which is often successful.
Some concerns or questions relate to transactional, technical or procedural matters. Often complaints, whether they specifically reference or relate to the Code of Ethics, or not, may be resolved with enhanced communication and a problem-solving approach.
An ombudsman is a telephone mediator, providing communications between parties to find solutions. Ombudsmen do not determine whether a violation of the Code of Ethics has occurred. The ombudsman’s role is that of a communicator with the parties to identify the nature of the dispute, disagreement or misunderstanding and determine if it can be resolved through discussions. Ombudsman services are the simplest and least formal solution, delivering non-judgmental real estate related information in a timely manner and at no cost.
The Ombudsman will not:
- Adjudicate/make the final decision
- Give legal advice
- Determine who is right or wrong
- Disclose communications – Process is CONFIDENTIAL
- Make any written record of discussions and/or agreements
If you would like to utilize our Ombudsman services, please fill out the Online Ombudsman Request Form .
Mediation is a form of facilitated negotiation, conducted in a more informal setting, by which a trained and experienced third party helps the disputing parties to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. As a voluntary alternative, mediation is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. Parties may withdraw from the process at any point prior to reaching an agreement.
Advantages of mediation include:
- Promptly determine the possibility of settling the dispute
- Saves time and money
- Can salvage relationships
- Since both parties consent to the mediation, the ultimate solution is in the hands of the parties - rather than a hearing panel
To initiate a mediation request, please call us at (330) 722-1000. Once both parties have notified MCBOR of their willingness to mediate, a mediator will contact them. The mediator will arrange for a time that is convenient to both parties to come to MCBOR's office for the mediation.
If an agreement is reached through mediation, both parties will be asked to sign a written agreement. Failure to reach agreement through mediation will not be considered by a hearing panel during any subsequent arbitration hearing.
Grievance and Professional Standards Committees
If Ombudsman Services and Mediation are unsuccessful, or the complainant chooses to bypass those options, the case will proceed to the Grievance Committee.
Generally, ethics complaints are filed about behavior; arbitration is requested when there is a dispute over a real estate commission. Both case types can be filed at the same time. If both cases are determined by the Grievance Committee to warrant hearings by the Professional Standards Committee, the arbitration is held first.
To initiate an Ethics Complaint and/or Arbitration Request, complete the applicable process:
Professional Standards Committee
Should the Grievance Committee determine a hearing is warranted, a panel is selected from the Professional Standards Committee to hear the case. The formal hearing, usually held at the MCBOR office, and will be set for a time mutually convenient for all parties.
If the panel, as a result of the ethics hearing, determines that the member has violated the Code of Ethics, they may recommend disciplinary action to MCBOR's Board of Directors. Such disciplinary actions may:
- Require the respondent to complete an appropriate education class
- Prescribe a letter of warning or reprimand
- Impose a fine of up to $5,000, a period of suspension of member services or a termination of board membership
- Or a combination of two or more of the above
Additionally, a member found to have violated the Code of Ethics is also charged an administrative fee of $500.