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Realtors Association of Palm Beaches

Professional Standards: Ethics Complaint


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 Code of Ethics, which was first adopted on July 29, 1913, is a living document--responsive in its content to changes in the law and industry. The Code has been revised several times through the years to reflect current developments in professional real estate practice. The term REALTOR® has come to represent competency, fairness, and high integrity. These qualities stem from voluntary adherence to an ideal of moral conduct in real estate business practices.

But even with the best of intention, planning and preparation, occasional disagreements arise between REALTORS® and/or between REALTORS® and their clients or customers. The REALTORS® Association of the Palm Beaches offers its members and their clients and customers a method to resolve complaints if they believe a REALTOR® may have acted in an unethical manner. An ethics hearing may be held and REALTORS® judged by their peers to determine if the code of ethics had been violated.

How the Process Works

  • Complaints must first be filed in writing. You can complete an online ethics complaint here or obtain a complaint packet by calling the RAPB office. Complaints must be filed within 180 days.
  • A Grievance Review Panel will conduct a preliminary investigation of your complaint to determine if an Ethics Hearing should be held to determine if a violation of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics has occurred.
  • Ethics hearings are not held to resolve civil matters or criminal complaints--they are only held to determine if the REALTORS® Code of Ethics had been violated.
  • If the Grievance Committee concludes that a hearing should be held, both parties (the complainant and the respondent REALTOR®) are notified of the time and date of the hearing along with instructions as to the procedures that are followed. Both parties are provided an opportunity to state their case and present evidence to the Ethics Hearing Panel.
  • At the conclusion of the hearing, the Panel decides if the REALTORS® Code of Ethics has been violated. Disciplinary action can be taken against the REALTOR® ranging from a warning, requirement of educational training, fines, or suspension or even expulsion from the Association. The role of the Association is to vindicate the Code of Ethics and to educate the member.
Complaint Filing Instructions:

  • Please fill out the online complaint form here. The "complainant" is the person filing the complaint. The "respondent" is the person(s) you are filing the complaint against.
  • Review the REALTORS® Code of Ethics and state on the complaint form under "Complainant(s) Charge(s)" the article(s) you feel have been violated. The Grievance Committee of the RAPB will conduct a preliminary investigation of your complaint to determine if an ethics hearing is warranted before the Professional Standards Committee. Should the Grievance Committee determine that an ethics hearing should be held the appropriate article(s), would be cited prior to an ethics hearing.
  • Along with the complaint form, you must return a signed and dated written statement that explains the nature of your complaint. The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the time the facts regarding the complaint could have been known.
  • Please allow forty-five (45) days for the Grievance Committee's investigation process. After that time, you will be notified in writing of the Committee's decision.

For more information on filing an ethics complaint, or should you have any questions, feel free to contact Sara Dougan at the Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches (561) 727-2754 or e-mail at ProfStandards@rapb.com.

Click Here to Access the Complaint Form

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