ORRA has added a new tool to its suite of professional standards programs intended to ensure adherence to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The ORRA Citation Policy now allows for citations to be assessed for certain COE violations in lieu of a hearing.
Written ethics complaints that contain only allegations of the violations listed below are eligible for review by a Citation Panel made up of ORRA REALTOR® members. The panel in turn has the option to issue citations to respondents, who then have the option of paying the citations within 10 days or declining to pay the citations and thereby moving the complaint ahead to the full hearing process.
Citation fines are $500-$1,500 for the first offense, $1,000-$3,000 plus a COE class for the second offense, and $2,000-$5,000 for the third offense.
The following violations of articles 3, 4, 6, 12, 14, and 16 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics are citation eligible:
- Failure to communicate a change in compensation for cooperative services prior to the time that REALTOR® submits an offer to purchase/lease the property
- Failing to disclose existence of dual or variable rate commission arrangements
- Failure to disclose to cooperating brokers differential that would result in dual or variable rate commission arrangement if sale/lease results through efforts of seller/landlord
- Failing to disclose existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to cooperating brokers
- Failing to disclose REALTOR®’s ownership or other interest in writing to the purchaser or their representative
- Failure to disclose REALTOR®’s direct interest in an organization or business entity when recommending to a client or customer that they use the services of that organization or business entity
- Failing to present a true picture in real estate communications and advertising
- Failing to disclose status as real estate professional in advertising and other representations
- Failure to provide all terms governing availability of a “free” product or service in an advertisement or other representation
- Failure to disclose potential to obtain a benefit from third party when REALTOR® represents their services as “free” or without cost
- Failure to exercise care and candor when communicating the terms and conditions of premiums, prizes, merchandise discounts or other inducements to list, sell, purchase, or lease
- Advertising property for sale/lease without authority of owner or listing broker
- Failing to disclose name of firm in advertisement for listed property
- Failing to disclose status as both owner/landlord and REALTOR® or licensee when advertising property in which REALTOR® has ownership interest
- Falsely claiming to have “sold” property
- Failure to take corrective action when it becomes apparent that information on a REALTOR®’s website is no longer current or accurate
- Failure to disclose firm name and state of licensure on REALTOR® firm website
- Representing that the REALTOR® has a designation, certification, or other credential they are not entitled to use
- Failing to cooperate in a professional standards proceeding or investigation in circumstances when cooperation has been demanded by the association and association has advised REALTOR® failure to cooperate could result in an allegation of a violation of Article 14
- Placing for sale/lease sign on property without permission of seller/landlord