Case #17-2: Dispute Between REALTORS® in Different Boards

REALTOR® A cooperated in the sale of a commercial property with REALTOR® B, the listing broker. REALTOR® A is a member of the XYZ Board of REALTORS®, and his office is located in the XYZ Board. Both the property and REALTOR® B’s office are located within the jurisdiction of the ABC Board of REALTORS® where REALTOR® B is a member. A dispute arose between REALTORS® A and B over the division of the commission.

REALTOR® A filed a request for arbitration with the Professional Standards Committee of his Board. The President of the Board, when advised of the contractual dispute, subsequent to the Grievance Committee finding the matter arbitrable and of a mandatory nature, notified the President of REALTOR® B’s Board and requested interboard arbitration in accordance with Article 17 of the Code of Ethics. The arbitration request was brought before the Grievance Committee of REALTOR® B’s Board which also determined that the dispute was arbitrable and of a mandatory nature.

One week before being notified of his Grievance Committee’s decision, REALTOR® B filed suit against REALTOR® A. The Board of Directors of the ABC Board notified REALTOR® B to appear and answer to a charge of violation of Article 17 when REALTOR® B did not withdraw the suit subsequent to being informed that both Grievance Committees had found the issue arbitrable and mandatory.

REALTOR® B described his contractual dispute to the Directors and stated that he knew REALTOR® A had requested arbitration because he had received a copy of the request. REALTOR® B maintained that he had filed suit because REALTOR® A was in another Board’s jurisdiction and he did not think anything would come of the request since he, REALTOR® B, was not a member of the XYZ Board.

How would you decide on REALTOR® B?

Ethics Violation of Article 1 in the NAR Code of Ethics? or No Violation?

See below for how this hearing panel ruled…if you think a violation, how much discipline would you impose? Fine of $________ and ____ hours of education.

If you were the respondent (aka defendant) REALTOR® in this complaint would you have considered taking an offered citation (small fine and education) in lieu of a full formal ethics hearing or waiving your right to a full formal hearing and accepting the fine and education imposed by the ethics committee who takes into account your admission of unprofessional behavior (aka take a plea deal)?

SCR is receiving numerous reports of unprofessional behavior. Across the country, unprofessional behavior is the number #1 complaint by REALTORS® about their colleagues in the market.

There are several ways of addressing and trying to correct unprofessional behavior. Lead by example. If you see unprofessional behavior, say something. Discuss with the other REALTOR®. Discuss with the REALTOR®’s Broker-in-Charge (BIC). Consider filing ethics complaints at the appropriate association and filing license law complaints at LLR.

REALTOR® B was advised that since both Grievance Committees had determined the matter was arbitrable and mandatory that interboard arbitration was being scheduled to hear the dispute. The Board of Directors concluded that his action in filing suit was not in itself in violation of Article 17 but advised REALTOR® B that if he failed to withdraw from the suit and participate in the interboard arbitration, he could be found in violation of Article 17.

Posted by: Byron King on 12/01/20 (This information is only accurate as of 12/01/20. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 12/01/20 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at