A New Jersey real estate agent becomes a REALTOR® when he or she joins the National Association of REALTORS®, New Jersey REALTORS and a local Association of REALTORS®. When real estate licensees become members of these associations, they pledge to abide by a strict Code of Ethics and standards of practice.
Pursuant to the Bylaws of the National Association of REALTORS®, member compliance with the Code of Ethics is a condition of membership in the Association. The Code includes the professional responsibilities and expectations of REALTOR® members to their clients, customers, fellow REALTORS® and the general public.
When a dispute arises involving a REALTOR® member, the professional standards process is utilized by member boards as a way to resolve the matter.
An "Ethics Complaint" may be filed by a member of the public or by a REALTOR®, alleging specific violations of one or more of the seventeen Articles of the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®. Hearing panel decisions are reached after careful review of evidence supplied by complainants and respondents.
Another type of action is called a "Request for Arbitration." An arbitration hearing, or the alternative service of mediation, settles disputes between REALTORS® that arise out of the business of real estate. In certain circumstances a client of a REALTOR® may also invoke Arbitration.
The Grievance and Professional Standards committees are composed of experienced REALTORS® well trained in state and association standards. They are responsible for ensuring due process is afforded to all parties and that all matters are handled expeditiously and in the strictest confidence. Boards and Associations of REALTORS® are responsible for enforcing the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics imposes duties above and in addition to those imposed by law or regulation which apply only to real estate professionals who choose to become REALTORS®.
Many difficulties between real estate professionals (whether REALTORS® or not) result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication. If you have a problem with a real estate professional, you may want to speak with them or with a principal broker in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.