Professional Standards & Code of Ethics
Professionalism is of paramount importance to the REALTOR® organization, and every new REALTOR® must complete training for and pledge to uphold the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. All REALTORS® also agree to abide by the dispute resolution processes in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.
Occasionally, disputes arise between consumers and REALTORS® or between REALTORS® that may be monetary in nature, regarding business practices, or sometimes both. Fortunately, REALTOR® associations have Professional Standards Committees that can often help the parties resolve their disputes.
The Northwoods Association of REALTORS® (NWAR) in May 2023 partnered with the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) in which WRA will administer Professional Standards cases involving NWAR Members. This includes mediation services, grievance panel meetings to verify if complaints qualify for a hearing, and conducting arbitration or ethics hearings. To learn more about these dispute resolution processes available to consumers and REALTORS®, please visit Wisconsin REALTORS® Association website:
Have a Complaint? See: https://www.wra.org/complaint/
WRA Professional Standards Info: https://www.wra.org/professionalstandards/
Ombudman service is essentially an informal type of mediation wherein a neutral ombudsman contacts both parties by telephone to see if an amicable resolution can be reached without the need for filing paperwork and meeting in person.
Ombudsman services are free and optional if both parties agree to ombudsman service. To lookup a REALTOR®'s local association, click here. If the REALTOR® is a member of NWAR, you may contact NWAR to request ombudsman service via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 715-356-3400.
Mediation is a process wherein a neutral mediator meets with both parties face-to-face - possibly via virtual meeting - to attempt to resolve their dispute by finding a mutually agreeable resolution. REALTOR® mediation is a free dispute resolution technique used as an alternative to litigation or formal ethics or arbitration hearings.
Mediation services are free and optional if both parties agree, except in the case of arbitrable disputes between REALTORS® wherein attempting mediation is mandatory. To lookup a REALTOR®'s local association, click here. If the REALTOR® is a member of NWAR, you may contact WRA to request mediation service – see: https://www.wra.org/complaint/
If you believe a REALTOR® has violated one or more articles of the Code of Ethics, a complaint alleging a violation of the Code of Ethics may be filed with the association of which the REALTOR® is a Member and/or MLS participant. However, REALTORS® shall not be subject to disciplinary proceeding in more than one Board of REALTORS® with respect to alleged violations of the Code of Ethics relating to the same transaction or event.
If found at fault by an ethics hearing panel, REALTORS® may face fines and processing fees, mandatory Code of Ethics training, suspension and/or expulsion. There is no award given to the complainant whether or not the REALTOR® is found at fault, though a monetary settlement for certain types of Ethics complaints may be possible through mediation or ombudsman services.
How to File an Ethics Complaint:
There is no cost to file an ethics complaint, but we recommend you first read more information about the process in the National Association of REALTORS® publication “Before You File an Ethics Complaint”.
Ethics complaints may be filed in any jurisdiction where the REALTOR® is a member or MLS participant. To lookup a REALTOR®'s local association, click here. If the REALTOR® is a member of NWAR, you may contact WRA to file an ethics complaint – see: https://www.wra.org/complaint/
REALTORS® agree as a condition of membership to arbitrate contractual and certain non-contractual disputes in accordance with Article 17 of the Code of Ethics. An arbitration request may be filed in any jurisdiction where the REALTOR® is a member or MLS participant. Whereas Ethics hearings may result in a REALTOR® being disciplined by his/her association, Arbitration requests are filed to resolve a contractual monetary dispute between the parties.
How to File an Arbitration Request:
Arbitration requests may be filed in any jurisdiction where the REALTOR® is a member or MLS participant. To lookup a REALTOR®'s local association, click here. If the REALTOR® is a member of NWAR, you may contact WRA to file an arbitration request – see: https://www.wra.org/complaint/