Case #17-3: Dispute Between REALTORS® of Different Boards

REALTOR® A, the listing broker and a member of the X Board of REALTORS®, and REALTOR® B, the cooperating broker and a member of the Y Board of REALTORS®, disagreed as to whether REALTOR® B should participate in a commission on a sale. The property was located within the jurisdiction of REALTOR® A’s Board, and REALTOR® A proposed that the dispute be submitted for arbitration within his Board, the X Board of REALTORS®. REALTOR® B agreed, and appeared before an arbitration panel of the Professional Standards Committee of the X Board of REALTORS® to present evidence in support of his view that he was entitled to participate in the commission. The arbitration panel of the X Board of REALTORS® found in favor of REALTOR® A.

REALTOR® B then requested his Board, the Y Board of REALTORS®, to contact the X Board of REALTORS® for the purpose of arranging interboard arbitration as provided for in Article 17 of the Code of Ethics.

How would you decide on REALTOR® B?

Ethics Violation of Article 17 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.

The Y Board of REALTORS® refused, pointing out that REALTOR® B had voluntarily accepted the proposal to have the matter arbitrated by the X Board of REALTORS®; that he had agreed to be bound by the Hearing Panel’s decision; had participated in the arbitration proceeding; and having done so, he was not, following an adverse decision, entitled to initiate another arbitration hearing.

Posted by: Byron King on 1/21/20 (This information is only accurate as of 1/21/20. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 1/21/20 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at