Before processing a complaint with an Association of REALTORS®, you must first determine if the agent involved is a REALTOR®. Only real estate agents who belong to an Association of REALTORS® may use the term REALTOR®. Therefore, you must determine if the agent is a REALTOR® and if so to which local Association of REALTORS® an agent belongs. You may do this by calling the Association office at (717) 364-3200.
When joining an Association, all members agree to abide by the Code of Ethics as a continuing condition of membership. It is because of a REALTORS®’ obligation to abide by the Code of Ethics that you may file a complaint at an Association of REALTORS®.
Any person, whether a member or not, may file a complaint against an Association REALTOR® member, alleging a violation of one or more of the Articles of the Code of Ethics. However, the complaint must:
- Be in typed or printed format on an Ethics Complaint form;
- Be signed by the Complainant;
- State the facts surrounding the case and how they specifically relate to the articles being charged;
- Be filed within 180 days after the facts could be known.
- Have copies of any supporting documents including any agency agreements.
The Complainant may file a complaint from any location. However, the Complainant must file it with the local Association of REALTORS® where the individual REALTOR®(S) named in the complaint is a member.
Be specific against whom you are bringing charges. In an Ethics Complaint, it is your decision whether or not to also name the Broker in any complaint against a sales agent. In a Request for Arbitration, your dispute is with the Broker, so charges must be filed against him/her.
How to file an ethics complaint
- Complete and sign the complaint form available from the Association of REALTORS® office. This form requests you to name the REALTOR® in question as the Respondent.
- List the Articles of the Code of Ethics that you think the REALTOR® violated. Standards of Practice cannot be violated. Use the Article number only.
- Attach an explanation of the situation surrounding the complaint. Be as specific as possible, referring at all times to the specific Articles of the Code. State what, when, where, why and how you think the REALTOR® violated each Article.
- Attach copies of any and all pertinent documents such as listing agreements, purchase agreements, correspondence, etc. If you have notarized statements from witnesses, include those also.
- Keep a copy for your records, and send the entire package (Attn: Executive Vice President) to the Association. The Grievance Committee will then review your complaint.
GHAR’s Grievance Committee and Professional Standards Committee are made up of brokers and agents just like you. We feel strongly about the enforcement of the Code of Ethics. The Grievance Committee reviews complaints received by the Association. The Committee determines whether the complaint merits further consideration. If your complaint merits further consideration, it will be sent to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing. The function of this Committee is to hold ethics and arbitration hearings. The Association will inform you about each step of this process as it occurs. The Association will also provide you with instructions about the hearing procedure, well in advance of the hearing.
Frequently Asked Questions
The National Association of REALTORS® has prepared an FAQ to outline how filing a complaint works. Learn more about who is held to the Code of Ethics standard as well as:
- Before the Hearing
- Preparing for the Hearing
- At the Hearing