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Code Of Ethics

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
of the National Association of REALTORS®

Effective January 1, 2014

Duties to Clients and Customers
Articles 1-9

Duties to the Public
Articles 10-14

Duties to REALTORS®
Articles 15-17

Where the word REALTORS® is used in this Code and Preamble, it shall be deemed to include REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®s.

While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher
than those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and
the law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.

Preamble

Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated
ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of
our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the
nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and
the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of
adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development
of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful
environment.

Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce.
They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which
REALTORS® should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be
diligent in preparing themselves. REALTORS®, therefore, are zealous to
maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their
fellow REALTORS® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.

In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients,
customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to
become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as
knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their
experience and study with others. They identify and take steps, through
enforcement of this Code of Ethics and by assisting appropriate
regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or
which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession.
REALTORS® having direct personal knowledge of conduct that may violate
the Code of Ethics involving misappropriation of client or customer
funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in
substantial economic harm, bring such matters to the attention of the
appropriate Board or Association of REALTORS®. (Amended 1/00)

Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals
promotes the best interests of those who utilize their services,
REALTORS® urge exclusive representation of clients; do not attempt to
gain any unfair advantage over their competitors; and they refrain from
making unsolicited comments about other practitioners. In instances
where their opinion is sought, or where REALTORS® believe that comment
is necessary, their opinion is offered in an objective, professional
manner, uninfluenced by any personal motivation or potential advantage
or gain.

The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high
integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in
business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from
clients ever can justify departure from this ideal.

In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORS® can take no safer
guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries,
embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do
to you, do ye even so to them.”

Accepting this standard as their own, REALTORS® pledge to observe its
spirit in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through
associates or others, or via technological means, and to conduct their
business in accordance with the tenets set forth below. (Amended 1/07)

Duties to Clients and Customers

Article 1
When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as
an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the
interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but
it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties
honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party
in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all
parties honestly. (Amended 1/01)

  • Standard of Practice 1-1

REALTORS®, when acting as principals in a real estate transaction, remain obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics. (Amended 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 1-2

The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass
all real estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted
in person, electronically, or through any other means.

The duties the Code of Ethics imposes are
applicable whether REALTORS® are acting as agents or in legally
recognized non-agency capacities except that any duty imposed
exclusively on agents by law or regulation shall not be imposed by this
Code of Ethics on REALTORS® acting in non-agency capacities.

As used in this Code of Ethics, “client” means the
person(s) or entity(ies) with whom a REALTOR® or a REALTOR®’s firm has
an agency or legally recognized non-agency relationship; “customer”
means a party to a real estate transaction who receives information,
services, or benefits but has no contractual relationship with the
REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s firm; “prospect” means a purchaser, seller,
tenant, or landlord who is not subject to a representation relationship
with the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm; “agent” means a real estate
licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting in an agency
relationship as defined by state law or regulation; and “broker” means a
real estate licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting as
an agent or in a legally recognized non-agency capacity. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/07)

  • Standard of Practice 1-3

REALTORS®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value.

  • Standard of Practice 1-4

REALTORS®, when seeking to become a buyer/tenant
representative, shall not mislead buyers or tenants as to savings or
other benefits that might be realized through use of the REALTOR®’s
services. (Amended 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 1-5

REALTORS® may represent the seller/landlord and
buyer/tenant in the same transaction only after full disclosure to and
with informed consent of both parties. (Adopted 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 1-6

REALTORS® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

  • Standard of Practice 1-7

When acting as listing brokers, REALTORS® shall
continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers
until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller/landlord has
waived this obligation in writing. REALTORS® shall not be obligated to
continue to market the property after an offer has been accepted by the
seller/landlord. REALTORS® shall recommend that sellers/landlords obtain
the advice of legal counsel prior to acceptance of a subsequent offer
except where the acceptance is contingent on the termination of the
pre-existing purchase contract or lease. (Amended 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 1-8

REALTORS® , acting as agents or brokers of
buyers/tenants, shall submit to buyers/tenants all offers and
counter-offers until acceptance but have no obligation to continue to
show properties to their clients after an offer has been accepted unless
otherwise agreed in writing. REALTORS®, acting as agents or brokers of
buyers/tenants, shall recommend that buyers/tenants obtain the advice of
legal counsel if there is a question as to whether a pre-existing
contract has been terminated. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/99)

  • Standard of Practice 1-9

The obligation of REALTORS® to preserve
confidential information (as defined by state law) provided by their
clients in the course of any agency relationship or non-agency
relationship recognized by law continues after termination of agency
relationships or any non-agency relationships recognized by law.
REALTORS® shall not knowingly, during or following the termination of
professional relationships with their clients:

  1. reveal confidential information of clients; or
  2. use confidential information of clients to the disadvantage of clients; or
  3. use confidential information of clients for the REALTOR®’s advantage or the advantage of third parties unless:

    • a) clients consent after full disclosure; or
    • b) REALTORS® are required by court order; or
    • c) it is the intention of a client to commit a crime and the information is necessary to prevent the crime; or
    • d) it is necessary to defend a REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s employees or associates against an accusation of wrongful conduct.

Information concerning latent material defects is not considered confidential information under this Code of Ethics. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/01)

  • Standard of Practice 1-10

REALTORS® shall, consistent with the terms and
conditions of their real estate licensure and their property management
agreement, competently manage the property of clients with due regard
for the rights, safety and health of tenants and others lawfully on the
premises. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/00)

  • Standard of Practice 1-11

REALTORS® who are employed to maintain or manage a
client’s property shall exercise due diligence and make reasonable
efforts to protect it against reasonably foreseeable contingencies and
losses. (Adopted 1/95)

  • Standard of Practice 1-12

When entering into listing contracts, REALTORS® must advise sellers/landlords of:

  1. the REALTOR®’s company policies regarding cooperation and the
    amount(s) of any compensation that will be offered to subagents,
    buyer/tenant agents, and/or brokers acting in legally recognized
    non-agency capacities;
  2. the fact that buyer/tenant agents or brokers, even if compensated by
    listing brokers, or by sellers/landlords may represent the interests of
    buyers/tenants; and
  3. any potential for listing brokers to act as disclosed dual agents, e.g. buyer/tenant agents. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/03)
  • Standard of Practice 1-13

When entering into buyer/tenant agreements, REALTORS® must advise potential clients of:

  1. the REALTOR®’s company policies regarding cooperation;
  2. the amount of compensation to be paid by the client;
  3. the potential for additional or offsetting compensation from other
    brokers, from the seller or landlord, or from other parties;
  4. any potential for the buyer/tenant representative to act as a
    disclosed dual agent, e.g. listing broker, subagent, landlord’s agent,
    etc., and
  5. the possibility that sellers or sellers’ representatives may not treat
    the existence, terms, or conditions of offers as confidential unless
    confidentiality is required by law, regulation, or by any
    confidentiality agreement between the parties. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/06)
  • Standard of Practice 1-14

Fees for preparing appraisals or other valuations shall not be contingent upon the amount of the appraisal or valuation. (Adopted 1/02)

  • Standard of Practice 1-15

REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or
cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the
existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized,
REALTORS® shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by
the listing licensee, another licensee in the listing firm, or by a
cooperating broker. (Adopted 1/03, Amended 1/09)

  • Standard of Practice 1-16

REALTORS® shall not use, or permit or enable
others to use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other
than those authorized by the owner or seller. (Adopted 1/12)

Article 2
REALTORS® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment
of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction.
REALTORS® shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in
the property, to advise on matters outside the scope of their real
estate license, or to disclose facts which are confidential under the
scope of agency or non-agency relationships as defined by state law. (Amended 1/00)

  • Standard of Practice 2-1

REALTORS® shall only be obligated to discover and
disclose adverse factors reasonably apparent to someone with expertise
in those areas required by their real estate licensing authority.
Article 2 does not impose upon the REALTOR® the obligation of expertise
in other professional or technical disciplines. (Amended 1/96)

  • Standard of Practice 2-2

(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-12 1/98)

  • Standard of Practice 2-3

(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-13 1/98)

  • Standard of Practice 2-4

REALTORS® shall not be parties to the naming of a
false consideration in any document, unless it be the naming of an
obviously nominal consideration.

  • Standard of Practice 2-5

 Factors defined as “non-material” by law or
regulation or which are expressly referenced in law or regulation as not
being subject to disclosure are considered not “pertinent” for purposes
of Article 2. (Adopted 1/93)

Article 3
REALTORS® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is
not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not
include the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise
compensate another broker. (Amended 1/95)

  • Standard of Practice 3-1

REALTORS®, acting as exclusive agents or brokers
of sellers/ landlords, establish the terms and conditions of offers to
cooperate. Unless expressly indicated in offers to cooperate,
cooperating brokers may not assume that the offer of cooperation
includes an offer of compensation. Terms of compensation, if any, shall
be ascertained by cooperating brokers before beginning efforts to accept
the offer of cooperation. (Amended 1/99)

  • Standard of Practice 3-2

Any change in compensation offered for cooperative
services must be communicated to the other REALTOR® prior to the time
that REALTOR®
submits an offer to purchase/lease the property. After a REALTORr®
has submitted an offer to purchase or lease property, the listing broker
may
not attempt to unilaterally modify the offered compensation with respect to that cooperative transaction. (Amended 1/14)

  • Standard of Practice 3-3

 Standard of Practice 3-2 does not preclude the
listing broker and cooperating broker from entering into an agreement to
change cooperative compensation. (Adopted 1/94)

  • Standard of Practice 3-4

REALTORS®, acting as listing brokers, have an
affirmative obligation to disclose the existence of dual or variable
rate commission arrangements (i.e., listings where one amount of
commission is payable if the listing broker’s firm is the procuring
cause of sale/lease and a different amount of commission is payable if
the sale/lease results through the efforts of the seller/ landlord or a
cooperating broker). The listing broker shall, as soon as practical,
disclose the existence of such arrangements to potential cooperating
brokers and shall, in response to inquiries from cooperating brokers,
disclose the differential that would result in a cooperative transaction
or in a sale/lease that results through the efforts of the
seller/landlord. If the cooperating broker is a buyer/tenant
representative, the buyer/tenant representative must disclose such
information to their client before the client makes an offer to purchase
or lease. (Amended 1/02)

  • Standard of Practice 3-5

 It is the obligation of subagents to promptly
disclose all pertinent facts to the principal’s agent prior to as well
as after a purchase or lease agreement is executed. (Amended 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 3-6

REALTORS® shall disclose the existence of accepted
offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker
seeking cooperation. (Adopted 5/86, Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 3-7

When seeking information from another REALTOR®
concerning property under a management or listing agreement, REALTORS®
shall disclose their REALTOR® status and whether their interest is
personal or on behalf of a client and, if on behalf of a client, their
relationship with the client. (Amended 1/11)

  • Standard of Practice 3-8

REALTORS® shall not misrepresent the availability of access to show or inspect a listed property. (Amended 11/87)

  • Standard of Practice 3-9

REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker. (Adopted 1/10)

  • Standard of Practice 3-10

The duty to cooperate established in Article 3
relates to the obligation to share information on listed property, and
to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective
purchasers/tenants when it is in the best interests of
sellers/landlords. (Adopted 1/11)

Article 4
REALTORS® shall not acquire an interest in or buy or present offers
from themselves, any member of their immediate families, their firms or
any member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership
interest, any real property without making their true position known to
the owner or the owner’s agent or broker. In selling property they own,
or in which they have any interest, REALTORS® shall reveal their
ownership or interest in writing to the purchaser or the purchaser’s
representative. (Amended 1/00)

  • Standard of Practice 4-1

For the protection of all parties, the disclosures
required by Article 4 shall be in writing and provided by REALTORS®
prior to the signing of any contract. (Adopted 2/86)

Article 5
REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide professional services
concerning a property or its value where they have a present or
contemplated interest unless such interest is specifically disclosed to
all affected parties.

Article 6
REALTORS® shall not accept any commission, rebate, or profit on
expenditures made for their client, without the client’s knowledge and
consent.

When recommending real estate products or services (e.g., homeowner’s
insurance, warranty programs, mortgage financing, title insurance,
etc.), REALTORS® shall disclose to the client or customer to whom the
recommendation is made any financial benefits or fees, other than real
estate referral fees, the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm may receive as a
direct result of such recommendation. (Amended 1/99)

  • Standard of Practice 6-1

REALTORS® shall not recommend or suggest to a
client or a customer the use of services of another organization or
business entity in which they have a direct interest without disclosing
such interest at the time of the recommendation or suggestion. (Amended 5/88)

Article 7
In a transaction, REALTORS® shall not accept compensation from more
than one party, even if permitted by law, without disclosure to all
parties and the informed consent of the REALTOR®’s client or clients. (Amended 1/93)

Article 8
REALTORS® shall keep in a special account in an appropriate financial
institution, separated from their own funds, monies coming into their
possession in trust for other persons, such as escrows, trust funds,
clients’ monies, and other like items.

Article 9
REALTORS®, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever
possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions
including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements,
purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and
understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions,
obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement
shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing
or initialing. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 9-1

For the protection of all parties, REALTORS® shall
use reasonable care to ensure that documents pertaining to the
purchase, sale, or lease of real estate are kept current through the use
of written extensions or amendments. (Amended 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 9-2

When assisting or enabling a client or customer in
establishing a contractual relationship (e.g., listing and
representation agreements, purchase agreements, leases, etc.)
electronically, REALTORS® shall make reasonable efforts to explain the
nature and disclose the specific terms of the contractual relationship
being established prior to it being agreed to by a contracting party. (Adopted 1/07)

Duties to the Public

Article 10
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for
reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status,
national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall
not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a
person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap,
familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender
identity. (Amended 1/14)

REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not
discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color,
religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual
orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

  • Standard of Practice 10-1

When involved in the sale or lease of a residence,
REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial,
religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they
engage in any activity which may result in panic selling, however,
REALTORS® may provide other demographic information. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/06)

  • Standard of Practice 10-2

When not involved in the sale or lease of a
residence, REALTORS® may provide demographic information related to a
property, transaction or professional assignment to a party if such
demographic information is (a) deemed by the REALTOR® to be needed to
assist with or complete, in a manner consistent with Article 10, a real
estate transaction or professional assignment and (b) is obtained or
derived from a recognized, reliable, independent, and impartial source.
The source of such information and any additions, deletions,
modifications, interpretations, or other changes shall be disclosed in
reasonable detail. (Adopted 1/05, Renumbered 1/06)

  • Standard of Practice 10-3

REALTORS® shall not print, display or circulate
any statement or advertisement with respect to selling or renting of a
property that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination
based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national
origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Adopted 1/94, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06, Amended 1/14)

  • Standard of Practice 10-4

As used in Article 10 “real estate employment
practices” relates to employees and independent contractors providing
real estate-related services and the administrative and clerical staff
directly supporting those individuals. (Adopted 1/00, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06)

Article 11
The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers
shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are
reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which
they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real
property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage,
land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real
estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional
services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their
field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is
competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are
fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such
assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution
to the assignment should be set forth. (Amended 1/10)

  • Standard of Practice 11-1

When REALTORS® prepare opinions of real property value or price they must:

  1. be knowledgeable about the type of property being valued,
  2. have access to the information and resources necessary to formulate an accurate opinion, and
  3. be familiar with the area where the subject property is located

unless lack of any of these is disclosed to the party requesting the opinion in advance.

When an opinion of value or price is prepared
other than in pursuit of a listing or to assist a potential purchaser in
formulating a purchase offer, the opinion shall include the following
unless the party requesting the opinion requires a specific type of
report or different data set:

  1. identification of the subject property
  2. date prepared
  3. defined value or price
  4. limiting conditions, including statements of purpose(s) and intended user(s)
  5. any present or contemplated interest, including the possibility of representing the seller/landlord or buyers/tenants
  6. basis for the opinion, including applicable market data
  7. if the opinion is not an appraisal, a statement to that effect
  8. disclosure of whether and when a physical inspection of the property’s exterior was conducted
  9. disclosure of whether and when a physical inspection of the property’s interior was conducted
  10. disclosure of whether the REALTOR® has any conflicts of interest (Amended 1/14)
  • Standard of Practice 11-2

The obligations of the Code of Ethics in respect
of real estate disciplines other than appraisal shall be interpreted and
applied in accordance with the standards of competence and practice
which clients and the public reasonably require to protect their rights
and interests considering the complexity of the transaction, the
availability of expert assistance, and, where the REALTOR® is an agent
or subagent, the obligations of a fiduciary. (Adopted 1/95)

  • Standard of Practice 11-3

When REALTORS® provide consultive services to
clients which involve advice or counsel for a fee (not a commission),
such advice shall be rendered in an objective manner and the fee shall
not be contingent on the substance of the advice or counsel given. If
brokerage or transaction services are to be provided in addition to
consultive services, a separate compensation may be paid with prior
agreement between the client and REALTOR®. (Adopted 1/96)

  • Standard of Practice 11-4

The competency required by Article 11 relates to
services contracted for between REALTORS® and their clients or
customers; the duties expressly imposed by the Code of Ethics; and the
duties imposed by law or regulation. (Adopted 1/02)

Article 12
REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate
communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising,
marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their
status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their
advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the
recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified
that those communications are from a real estate professional. (Amended 1/08)

  • Standard of Practice 12-1

REALTORS® may use the term “free” and similar
terms in their advertising and in other representations provided that
all terms governing availability of the offered product or service are
clearly disclosed at the same time. (Amended 1/97)

  • Standard of Practice 12-2

REALTORS® may represent their services as “free”
or without cost even if they expect to receive compensation from a
source other than their client provided that the potential for the
REALTOR® to obtain a benefit from a third party is clearly disclosed at
the same time. (Amended 1/97)

  • Standard of Practice 12-3

The offering of premiums, prizes, merchandise
discounts or other inducements to list, sell, purchase, or lease is not,
in itself, unethical even if receipt of the benefit is contingent on
listing, selling, purchasing, or leasing through the REALTOR® making the
offer. However, REALTORS® must exercise care and candor in any such
advertising or other public or private representations so that any party
interested in receiving or otherwise benefiting from the REALTOR®’s
offer will have clear, thorough, advance understanding of all the terms
and conditions of the offer. The offering of any inducements to do
business is subject to the limitations and restrictions of state law and
the ethical obligations established by any applicable Standard of
Practice. (Amended 1/95)

  • Standard of Practice 12-4

REALTORS® shall not offer for sale/lease or
advertise property without authority. When acting as listing brokers or
as subagents, REALTORS® shall not quote a price different from that
agreed upon with the seller/landlord. (Amended 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 12-5

REALTORS® shall not advertise nor permit any
person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate
services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print,
radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that REALTOR®’s
firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. This Standard of
Practice acknowledges that disclosing the name of the firm may not be
practical in electronic displays of limited information (e.g.
“thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc.). Such displays are exempt
from the disclosure requirement established in the Standard of Practice,
but only when linked to a display that includes all required
disclosures. (Adopted 11/86, Amended 1/11)

  • Standard of Practice 12-6

REALTORS®, when advertising unlisted real property
for sale/lease in which they have an ownership interest, shall disclose
their status as both owners/landlords and as REALTORS® or real estate
licensees. (Amended 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 12-7

Only REALTORS® who participated in the transaction
as the listing broker or cooperating broker (selling broker) may claim
to have “sold” the property. Prior to closing, a cooperating broker may
post a “sold” sign only with the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/96)

  • Standard of Practice 12-8

The obligation to present a true picture in
representations to the public includes information presented, provided,
or displayed on REALTORS®’ websites. REALTORS® shall use reasonable
efforts to ensure that information on their websites is current. When it
becomes apparent that information on a REALTOR®’s website is no longer
current or accurate, REALTORS® shall promptly take corrective action. (Adopted 1/07)

  • Standard of Practice 12-9

REALTOR® firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.

Websites of REALTORS® and non-member licensees
affiliated with a REALTOR® firm shall disclose the firm’s name and that
REALTOR®’s or non-member licensee’s state(s) of licensure in a
reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

  • Standard of Practice 12-10

REALTORS®’ obligation to present a true picture in
their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet
content posted, and the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits
REALTORS® from:

  1. engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
  2. manipulating (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing
    and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading
    result;
  3. deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; or
  4. presenting content developed by others without either attribution or without permission, or
  5. to otherwise mislead consumers. (Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/13)
  • Standard of Practice 12-11

 REALTORS® intending to share or sell consumer
information gathered via the Internet shall disclose that possibility in
a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

  • Standard of Practice 12-12

REALTORS® shall not:

  1. use URLs or domain names that present less than a true picture, or
  2. register URLs or domain names which, if used, would present less than a true picture. (Adopted 1/08)
  • Standard of Practice 12-13

The obligation to present a true picture in
advertising, marketing, and representations allows REALTORS® to use and
display only professional designations, certifications, and other
credentials to which they are legitimately entitled. (Adopted 1/08)

Article 13
REALTORS® shall not engage in activities that constitute the
unauthorized practice of law and shall recommend that legal counsel be
obtained when the interest of any party to the transaction requires it.

Article 14
If charged with unethical practice or asked to present evidence or to
cooperate in any other way, in any professional standards proceeding or
investigation, REALTORS® shall place all pertinent facts before the
proper tribunals of the Member Board or affiliated institute, society,
or council in which membership is held and shall take no action to
disrupt or obstruct such processes. (Amended 1/99)

  • Standard of Practice 14-1

REALTORS® shall not be subject to disciplinary
proceedings in more than one Board of REALTORS® or affiliated institute,
society or council in which they hold membership with respect to
alleged violations of the Code of Ethics relating to the same
transaction or event. (Amended 1/95)

  • Standard of Practice 14-2

REALTORS® shall not make any unauthorized
disclosure or dissemination of the allegations, findings, or decision
developed in connection with an ethics hearing or appeal or in
connection with an arbitration hearing or procedural review. (Amended 1/92)

  • Standard of Practice 14-3

REALTORS® shall not obstruct the Board’s
investigative or professional standards proceedings by instituting or
threatening to institute actions for libel, slander or defamation
against any party to a professional standards proceeding or their
witnesses based on the filing of an arbitration request, an ethics
complaint, or testimony given before any tribunal. (Adopted 11/87, Amended 1/99)

  • Standard of Practice 14-4

REALTORS® shall not intentionally impede the
Board’s investigative or disciplinary proceedings by filing multiple
ethics complaints based on the same event or transaction. (Adopted 11/88)

Duties to REALTORS®

Article 15
REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading
statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or
their business practices. (Amended 1/12)

  • Standard of Practice 15-1

REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly file false or unfounded ethics complaints. (Adopted 1/00)

  • Standard of Practice 15-2

The obligation to refrain from making false or
misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their
businesses and their business practices includes the duty to not
knowingly or recklessly publish, repeat, retransmit, or republish false
or misleading statements made by others. This duty applies whether false
or misleading statements are repeated in person, in writing, by
technological means (e.g., the Internet), or by any other means. (Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/12)

  • Standard of Practice 15-3

The obligation to refrain from making false or
misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their
businesses, and their business practices includes the duty to publish a
clarification about or to remove statements made by others on electronic
media the REALTOR® controls once the REALTOR® knows the statement is
false or misleading. (Adopted 1/10, Amended 1/12)

Article 16
REALTORS® shall not engage in any practice or take any action
inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage
relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with clients. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-1

Article 16 is not intended to prohibit aggressive
or innovative business practices which are otherwise ethical and does
not prohibit disagreements with other REALTORS® involving commission,
fees, compensation or other forms of payment or expenses. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

  • Standard of Practice 16-2

Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from making
general announcements to prospects describing their services and the
terms of their availability even though some recipients may have entered
into agency agreements or other exclusive relationships with another
REALTOR®. A general telephone canvass, general mailing or distribution
addressed to all prospects in a given geographical area or in a given
profession, business, club, or organization, or other classification or
group is deemed “general” for purposes of this standard. (Amended 1/04)

Article 16 is intended to recognize as unethical two basic types of solicitations:

First, telephone or personal solicitations of
property owners who have been identified by a real estate sign, multiple
listing compilation, or other information service as having exclusively
listed their property with another REALTOR®, and

Second, mail or other forms of written
solicitations of prospects whose properties are exclusively listed with
another REALTOR® when such solicitations are not part of a general
mailing but are directed specifically to property owners identified
through compilations of current listings, “for sale” or “for rent”
signs, or other sources of information required by Article 3 and
Multiple Listing Service rules to be made available to other REALTORS®
under offers of subagency or cooperation. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-3

Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from
contacting the client of another broker for the purpose of offering to
provide, or entering into a contract to provide, a different type of
real estate service unrelated to the type of service currently being
provided (e.g., property management as opposed to brokerage) or from
offering the same type of service for property not subject to other
brokers’ exclusive agreements. However, information received through a
Multiple Listing Service or any other offer of cooperation may not be
used to target clients of other REALTORS® to whom such offers to provide
services may be made. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-4

REALTORS® shall not solicit a listing which is
currently listed exclusively with another broker. However, if the
listing broker, when asked by the REALTOR®, refuses to disclose the
expiration date and nature of such listing; i.e., an exclusive right to
sell, an exclusive agency, open listing, or other form of contractual
agreement between the listing broker and the client, the REALTOR® may
contact the owner to secure such information and may discuss the terms
upon which the REALTOR® might take a future listing or, alternatively,
may take a listing to become effective upon expiration of any existing
exclusive listing. (Amended 1/94)

  • Standard of Practice 16-5

REALTORS® shall not solicit buyer/tenant
agreements from buyers/ tenants who are subject to exclusive
buyer/tenant agreements. However, if asked by a REALTOR®, the broker
refuses to disclose the expiration date of the exclusive buyer/tenant
agreement, the REALTOR® may contact the buyer/tenant to secure such
information and may discuss the terms upon which the REALTOR® might
enter into a future buyer/tenant agreement or, alternatively, may enter
into a buyer/tenant agreement to become effective upon the expiration of
any existing exclusive buyer/tenant agreement. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/98)

  • Standard of Practice 16-6

When REALTORS® are contacted by the client of
another REALTOR® regarding the creation of an exclusive relationship to
provide the same type of service, and REALTORS® have not directly or
indirectly initiated such discussions, they may discuss the terms upon
which they might enter into a future agreement or, alternatively, may
enter into an agreement which becomes effective upon expiration of any
existing exclusive agreement. (Amended 1/98)

  • Standard of Practice 16-7

The fact that a prospect has retained a REALTOR®
as an exclusive representative or exclusive broker in one or more past
transactions does not preclude other REALTORS® from seeking such
prospect’s future business. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-8

The fact that an exclusive agreement has been
entered into with a REALTOR® shall not preclude or inhibit any other
REALTOR® from entering into a similar agreement after the expiration of
the prior agreement. (Amended 1/98)

  • Standard of Practice 16-9

REALTORS®, prior to entering into a representation
agreement, have an affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to
determine whether the prospect is subject to a current, valid exclusive
agreement to provide the same type of real estate service. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-10

REALTORS®, acting as buyer or tenant
representatives or brokers, shall disclose that relationship to the
seller/landlord’s representative or broker at first contact and shall
provide written confirmation of that disclosure to the seller/landlord’s
representative or broker not later than execution of a purchase
agreement or lease. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-11

On unlisted property, REALTORS® acting as
buyer/tenant representatives or brokers shall disclose that relationship
to the seller/landlord at first contact for that buyer/tenant and shall
provide written confirmation of such disclosure to the seller/landlord
not later than execution of any purchase or lease agreement. (Amended 1/04)

REALTORS® shall make any request for anticipated compensation from the seller/ landlord at first contact. (Amended 1/98)

  • Standard of Practice 16-12

REALTORS®, acting as representatives or brokers of
sellers/landlords or as subagents of listing brokers, shall disclose
that relationship to buyers/tenants as soon as practicable and shall
provide written confirmation of such disclosure to buyers/tenants not
later than execution of any purchase or lease agreement. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-13

All dealings concerning property exclusively
listed, or with buyer/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement
shall be carried on with the client’s representative or broker, and not
with the client, except with the consent of the client’s representative
or broker or except where such dealings are initiated by the client.

Before providing substantive services (such as
writing a purchase offer or presenting a CMA) to prospects, REALTORS®
shall ask prospects whether they are a party to any exclusive
representation agreement. REALTORS® shall not knowingly provide
substantive services concerning a prospective transaction to prospects
who are parties to exclusive representation agreements, except with the
consent of the prospects’ exclusive representatives or at the direction
of prospects. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-14

REALTORS® are free to enter into contractual
relationships or to negotiate with sellers/ landlords, buyers/tenants or
others who are not subject to an exclusive agreement but shall not
knowingly obligate them to pay more than one commission except with
their informed consent. (Amended 1/98)

  • Standard of Practice 16-15

In cooperative transactions REALTORS® shall
compensate cooperating REALTORS® (principal brokers) and shall not
compensate nor offer to compensate, directly or indirectly, any of the
sales licensees employed by or affiliated with other REALTORS® without
the prior express knowledge and consent of the cooperating broker.

  • Standard of Practice 16-16

REALTORS®, acting as subagents or buyer/tenant
representatives or brokers, shall not use the terms of an offer to
purchase/lease to attempt to modify the listing broker’s offer of
compensation to subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers nor
make the submission of an executed offer to purchase/lease contingent
on the listing broker’s agreement to modify the offer of compensation. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-17

REALTORS®, acting as subagents or as buyer/tenant
representatives or brokers, shall not attempt to extend a listing
broker’s offer of cooperation and/or compensation to other brokers
without the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/04)

  • Standard of Practice 16-18

REALTORS® shall not use information obtained from
listing brokers through offers to cooperate made through multiple
listing services or through other offers of cooperation to refer listing
brokers’ clients to other brokers or to create buyer/tenant
relationships with listing brokers’ clients, unless such use is
authorized by listing brokers. (Amended 1/02)

  • Standard of Practice 16-19

Signs giving notice of property for sale, rent,
lease, or exchange shall not be placed on property without consent of
the seller/landlord. (Amended 1/93)

  • Standard of Practice 16-20

REALTORS®, prior to or after their relationship
with their current firm is terminated, shall not induce clients of their
current firm to cancel exclusive contractual agreements between the
client and that firm. This does not preclude REALTORS® (principals) from
establishing agreements with their associated licensees governing
assignability of exclusive agreements. (Adopted 1/98, Amended 1/10)

Article 17
In the event of contractual disputes or specific non-contractual
disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4 between REALTORS®
(principals) associated with different firms, arising out of their
relationship as REALTORS®, the REALTORS® shall mediate the dispute if
the Board requires its members to mediate. If the dispute is not
resolved through mediation, or if mediation is not required, REALTORS®
shall submit the dispute to arbitration in accordance with the policies
of their Board rather than litigate the matter.

In the event clients of REALTORS® wish to mediate or arbitrate
contractual disputes arising out of real estate transactions, REALTORS®
shall mediate or arbitrate those disputes in accordance with the
policies of the Board, provided the clients agree to be bound by any
resulting agreement or award.

The obligation to participate in mediation or arbitration
contemplated by this Article includes the obligation of REALTORS®
(principals) to cause their firms to mediate or arbitrate and be bound
by any resulting agreement or award. (Amended 1/12)

  • Standard of Practice 17-1

The filing of litigation and refusal to withdraw
from it by REALTORS® in an arbitrable matter constitutes a refusal to
arbitrate. (Adopted 2/86)

  • Standard of Practice 17-2

Article 17 does not require REALTORS® to mediate
in those circumstances when all parties to the dispute advise the Board
in writing that they choose not to mediate through the Board’s
facilities. The fact that all parties decline to participate in
mediation does not relieve REALTORS® of the duty to arbitrate.

Article 17 does not require REALTORS® to arbitrate
in those circumstances when all parties to the dispute advise the Board
in writing that they choose not to arbitrate before the Board. (Amended 1/12)

  • Standard of Practice 17-3

REALTORS®, when acting solely as principals in a
real estate transaction, are not obligated to arbitrate disputes with
other REALTORS® absent a specific written agreement to the contrary. (Adopted 1/96)

  • Standard of Practice 17-4

Specific non-contractual disputes that are subject to arbitration pursuant to Article 17 are:

  1. Where a listing broker has compensated a cooperating broker and
    another cooperating broker subsequently claims to be the procuring cause
    of the sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first
    cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the
    listing broker being named as a respondent. When arbitration occurs
    between two (or more) cooperating brokers and where the listing broker
    is not a party, the amount in dispute and the amount of any potential
    resulting award is limited to the amount paid to the respondent by the
    listing broker and any amount credited or paid to a party to the
    transaction at the direction of the respondent. Alternatively, if the
    complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may
    name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either
    instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall
    be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the
    parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative
    transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)
  2. Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller or
    landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a
    result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and,
    subsequent to such actions, another cooperating broker claims to be the
    procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name
    the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed
    without the listing broker being named as a respondent. When arbitration
    occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers and where the listing
    broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and the amount of any
    potential resulting award is limited to the amount paid to the
    respondent by the seller or landlord and any amount credited or paid to a
    party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent.
    Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker,
    the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a
    third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing
    panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all
    current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out
    of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)
  3. Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the buyer or
    tenant and, as a result, the listing broker reduces the commission owed
    by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, another
    cooperating broker claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In
    such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as
    respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being
    named as a respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought
    against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first
    cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the
    decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive
    with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for
    compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97)
  4. Where two or more listing brokers claim entitlement to compensation
    pursuant to open listings with a seller or landlord who agrees to
    participate in arbitration (or who requests arbitration) and who agrees
    to be bound by the decision. In cases where one of the listing brokers
    has been compensated by the seller or landlord, the other listing
    broker, as complainant, may name the first listing broker as respondent
    and arbitration may proceed between the brokers. (Adopted 1/97)
  5. Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller or
    landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a
    result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and,
    subsequent to such actions, claims to be the procuring cause of sale or
    lease. In such cases arbitration shall be between the listing broker and
    the buyer or tenant representative and the amount in dispute is limited
    to the amount of the reduction of commission to which the listing
    broker agreed. (Adopted 1/05)
  • Standard of Practice 17-5

The obligation to arbitrate established in Article
17 includes disputes between REALTORS® (principals) in different states
in instances where, absent an established inter–association arbitration
agreement, the REALTOR® (principal) requesting arbitration agrees to
submit to the jurisdiction of, travel to, participate in, and be bound
by any resulting award rendered in arbitration conducted by the
respondent(s) REALTOR®’s association, in instances where the
respondent(s) REALTOR®’s association determines that an arbitrable issue
exists. (Adopted 1/07)

Explanatory Notes
The reader should be aware of the following policies which have been
approved by the Board of Directors of the National Association:

In filing a charge of an alleged violation of the Code of Ethics by a
REALTOR®, the charge must read as an alleged violation of one or more
Articles of the Code. Standards of Practice may be cited in support of
the charge.

The Standards of Practice serve to clarify the ethical obligations
imposed by the various Articles and supplement, and do not substitute
for, the Case Interpretations in Interpretations of the Code of Ethics.

Modifications to existing Standards of Practice and additional new
Standards of Practice are approved from time to time. Readers are
cautioned to ensure that the most recent publications are utilized.


Copyright 2014, National Association of REALTORS®, All rights reserved. Form No. 166-288 (01/14 VG)

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