The Ombudsman Program for the REALTORS® Association of the Palm Beaches (RAPB) provides a highly confidential way for RAPB REALTOR® members, and clients and customers of REALTOR® members, to seek answers to general real estate-related questions and to express concerns about an interaction with a REALTOR®. The Ombudsman Program provides a neutral, informal, and flexible avenue to address a wide range of concerns with a variety of tools and approaches. It provides a non-escalating, off-the-record resource to work with you to give you timely answers to your questions and to explore the options, approaches, and alternatives available to you to help resolve matters without resorting to more formal channels.
If this sounds like it could work for your conflict then you can leave a message to speak with one of our Ombudsmen toll free 844-365-7272 or email us at Ombudsman@rapb.com.
Members of the association have the benefit of mediation services for their Ethics and Arbitration disputes. Contact the office of the Ombudsman for more information: 844-365-7272 Ombudsman@rapb.com.
Role of Ombudsmen
The ombudsman’s role is primarily one of communication and conciliation, not adjudication. Ombudsmen do not determine whether ethics violations have occurred or render an opinion on whether someone's claim has merit or speculate on the chances of success of the ethics or arbitration claim, rather they anticipate, identify, and resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into disputes and possible charges of unethical conduct.
Ombudsmen can field and respond to a wide variety of inquiries and complaints, including general questions about real estate practice, transaction details, ethical practice, and enforcement issues. Ombudsmen can also receive and respond to questions and complaints about members; can contact members to inform them that a client or customer has raised a question or issue; and can contact members to obtain information necessary to provide an informed response.
In cases where an ombudsman believes that a failure of communication is the basis for a question or complaint, the ombudsman can arrange a meeting of the parties and to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution.
Resolution of complaints
If a matter complained of is resolved to the mutual satisfaction of all parties through the efforts of an ombudsman, the formal ethics complaint brought initially (if any) will be dismissed.
Failure to comply with agreed upon resolution
Failure or refusal of a member to comply with the terms of a mutually agreed on resolution shall entitle the complaining party to resubmit the original complaint or, where a formal complaint in the appropriate form had not been filed, to file an ethics complaint. The time the matter was originally brought to the board or association’s attention will be considered the filing date for purposes of determining whether an ethics complaint is timely filed.
Referrals to the Grievance Committee or to state regulatory bodies
Ombudsmen cannot refer concerns they have regarding the conduct of any party utilizing their services to the Grievance Committee, to the state real estate licensing authority, or to any other regulatory body. The prohibition is intended to ensure impartiality and avoid the possible appearance of bias. Ombudsmen are, however, authorized to refer concerns that the public trust may have been violated to the Grievance Committee.