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 St. Charles County REALTORS® prides itself on maintaining a high level of integrity through thoughtful and fair enforcement of the Code of Ethics. The Association has in place a comprehensive Professional Standards process to protect the public from unethical REALTOR® activities.
But even with the best of intentions, planning and preparations, occasional disagreements arise between REALTORS® and/or between REALTORS® and their clients and customers. As civil litigation becomes increasingly costly, time consuming, and burdensome, there has been a trend among private parties to settle disputes and conflicting claims through alternative means.
The Association 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.
All the St. Charles REALTORS® members are required to settle their monetary disputes (usually a commission issue) through the use of our Arbitration program. Members submit to the Association an Arbitration Request (forms available for download below), including a summary of the events, and pay a $500 filing fee. The process will begin and a hearing will be scheduled to settle the matter. Mediation, which is a faster and cost-free alternative, is always offered before the hearing is scheduled.
Violations of the Code of Ethics or other membership rules by one of our members should be reported to the Association. Any person, Member or nonmember, may file an ethics complaint against a REALTOR Member alleging a violation of the Code of Ethics. A complaint must be filed within 180 days from the time that the alleged offense and relating facts could have been known. You must submit a typed summary of the events that took place and identify which Article(s) of the Code of Ethics you believe were violated. The necessary forms and information are available for download below. There is no charge to file an Ethics complaint.
The Association offers Ombudsman Services for those who would like assistance in resolving an issue but are not ready to file a complaint yet. The purpose of the Ombudsman is to provide an impartial knowledgeable, informed contact when REALTOR members or members of the public have real estate-related questions or issues that have not been addressed by an individual broker.
The role of the Ombudsman is to identify and attempt to facilitate a resolution of misunderstandings and/or disagreements before matters evolve into a formal complaint. The Ombudsman Service Request Form is available here or may be downloaded below.
Mindy West (2024 President Elect) and Matthew Becker (2022 President) Discuss The Ethics Complaint Process.
NAR’s Code of Ethics, Professional Standards, and Mediation Resources
Additional resources are available from the National Association of REALTORS.