The NAR Board of Directors approved amendments to Article 17 of the Code of Ethics to give  associations discretionary authority to obligate members to mediate otherwise arbitrable disputes.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 regulations policies of their the Board or Boards
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 regulations policies of their the Board, provided the
clients agree to be bound by any resulting agreement or award the decision.

The obligation to participate in mediation and arbitration contemplated by this Article
includes the obligation of REALTORS® (principals) to cause their firms to mediate and
arbitrate and be bound by any resulting agreement or award.
AAR made this mandatory mediation recommendation to NAR in 2008 and will consider implementing the option in 2012.

  • The board also adopted a new Standard of Practice to prohibit REALTORS® from accessing or using, or permitting or enabling others to access or use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those authorized by the owner or seller. The new Standard of Practice, which is based on the existing Standard of Practice 3.9, goes into effect January 1.
  • In the Delegate Body meeting, delegates changed the word “competitors” to “other real estate professionals” in a provision in Article 15 of the Code that prohibits the making of false or misleading statements about others.

To read all the key decisions from the November 2011 NAR Board of Directors Meeting go to:

The AAR Executive Committee will consider a recommendation to adopt an Ethics Citation Program at its meeting in January.  In short, when the Grievance Committee receives a complaint alleging violations of Articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 14, or 16 and determines there isa potential violation of the Code of Ethics, it will have the option toissue a citation to the respondent.  The citation will be sent to the respondent, as well as to the REALTOR® principal of the respondent’s office.  The respondent will have fifteen days to decide to accept the citation and pay the fine, or request a full hearing on the ethics complaint. The fine for the first violation will be $250, plus education commensurate with the Article violated.
A Citation Program can streamline the complaint process in the applicable cases while fulfilling the purpose of Code of Ethics enforcement – educating members about their professional obligations and serving as a meaningful deterrent to future violations.  Complaints processed through the Program (if ultimately adopted) should be resolved more quickly, which benefits the parties.  The advantages of resolving a complaint without a hearing include being less burdensome on the complainant and more cost effective in terms of volunteer time and actual expenses.  Several other associations have adopted a Citation Program, such as Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012, every member of the National Association of REALTORS® is required to complete 2½ hours of Code of Ethics training. For your convenience, you may take the Code of Ethics course free at:
There are fifteen short video segments covering the Preamble, Articles, and Standards of Practice. Included are support material and questions to stimulate discussion. Each segment is five to seven minutes long, available 24/7, and free of charge.
Join us at our 2012 workshop where we’ll put professional standards success within reach! Discussions at this year’s workshop will cover changes to the NAR Code of Ethics, issues around procuring cause and more.
When: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | 9:00am – 3:00pm
Where: Black Canyon Conference Center
C/E: 3 hours
This program is free for AAR Grievance Committee and Professional Standards Committee members, who will be required to take an online exam on the Code of Ethics. And in thanks for their service, AAR had decided to “comp” all AAR ombudsmen and mediators so they too can attend for free. Members at large may attend for $75.00.
Register Online:


  • Be sensitive to conflicts of interest and circumstances where you should disqualify yourself from a review, hearing, mediation, or ombudsman effort.


  • Do not engage in conjecture and to look closely at the facts as it is presented.
  • A member of the Grievance Committee can be assigned to assist a complainant in presenting their complaint and will be excused from review of that case.
  • Look at case interpretations to assist in your review of an ethics complaint.


  • Attorney’s fees, punitive damages, and interests are not generally part of any arbitration award unless it is expressly provided for in the agreement giving rise to the dispute.
  • Present your questions to the Hearing Panel at the pre-hearing meeting to help determine if the question may be leading.



  • Even if the facts are clear, strong, and convincing, play the devil’s advocate and engage the panel into discussion so that the non-prevailing party’s issues are discussed and considered.
  • Do not voice your opinion during the Executive Session unless your vote breaks a tie or until after the Hearing Panel has reached their decision.


  • Mediation is a blend of counseling skills and knowledge – each party in a mediation has an emotional need to be met: a) the desire to be heard; b) the need to have their underlying concerns and feelings acknowledged;  c) to have those concerns and feelings validated.
  • The mediator needs to employ active listening skills such as focusing eye contact (no distractions), to paraphrase, summarize, reflect, parrot and/or reframe questions for clarity.
  • Ask open ended questions – What is this about for you?  What was the impact of this on you?  How do you feel about what happened?  In a perfect world, what outcome would you like? What is important to you?


Professional Standards and Grievance Committee Members
Thank you for dedicating your time, your knowledge, and your energy to participate with Grievance Committee Meetings and Hearing Panels! We proudly tout to the parties, and to whoever gives us the floor, that you are passionate volunteers willing to watch over your profession and the word REALTOR® and its reputation to provide the real estate industry with high standards and professional conduct.

2011 Grievance Committee
John Barile, David Brashear, Debra Coste, Sharon Ellsworth, Sue Flucke, Eileen Greene, Leslie Hammond, Jo Hannifan, Bob Kaczmarek, Carol Lewis, Marion McGuire, Michael Mulvena, Michael Tiers, Chris K. Warren, Dori Wittrig, Sandy Young.

2011 Professional Standards Committee
James Amdahl, Charlene Anderson, Gary Ando, Martha Appel, Kristin Armbruster, Viva Ashcroft, Jennifer Aubrey, William Barnes, Carla Bowen, Janine Brown, Tom Clancy, Janet Clark, Mary Frances Coleman, Karen Cyga, Flo Day, Alice DeShane, Frank Dickens, Larry Dignan, Chad Dixon, Lori Doerfler, Sandra Durazo, Jane Dutra, Tomyal Emptage, Holly Eslinger, Ruth Fairbanks, Gary Fenton, Kyle Fouts, Duane Fouts, Robert Gaudette, Kathleen Gimenez, Judith Grammond, Mary Lee Greason, Jon Hammond, Kerry Hannifan, Michelle Hartley, Barrie Herr, Larry Hibler, Ed Hume, Pat Jessup, Bill Johnson, Karen Jones, Clark Jones, Rosemary Keely, Dee Kepp, Jon Kichen, Jill Knox, Dick Krause, Fred LaBell, Kathleen Landis, Pat Leach, Leah Lichter-Roedig, Marge Lindsay, Holly Mabery, James Marian, Tim Massingale, Kathy Mayus, Todd Menard, Karen Miller, Trudy Moore, Paul Olson, Carol Pinciaro, Janet Quackenbush, Robert Quackenbush, Peggy Rauch, Nancy Rea, Jill Remington, Bridget Reynolds, Tina Robbins, Ronald Roberts, Catherine J. Rose, Sharon Rundle, Ken Ryan, Rick Sack, Dan Santa Maria, Richard Schneiter, Nancy Smith, David Stephens, Michael Steward, Lisa Suarez, Yvonne Taylor, Becky Taylor, Gillean Terry, Steven Urie, Carole Vaughn, Denise Venturelli, Mike Waling, Carol Anne Warren, Michael Warren, George Watrous, William Whetten, Suzanne White.

Mediators and Ombudsmen
Whether the conflict stems from the public or between members, your contribution to AAR’s Mediation and Ombudsman programs are making an impressive difference in complaints being filed, hearing reduction, and satisfaction in the dispute outcome:

2011 Mediators
Gary Best, Frank Dickens, Thomas Fannin, William Farretta, Charles Fraas, Lucille Fraas, Evan Fuchs, Mary Lee Greason, Dick Krause, Marge Lindsay, Carol Pinciaro, Tina Robbins, Ron Roberts,  Carol Anne Warren, George Watrous, Thomas Weddingfeld.

2011 Ombudsmen
Alice DeShane, Chad Dixon, Bob Herd, Kirsten Hill, Clark Jones, Dick Krause, Kathleen Landis, Marge Lindsay, James Marian, Kathy Mayus, Beth Morton, Carol Pinciaro, Tina Robbins, Nancy Smith, April Starr, David Stephens, Lisa Suarez, Tom Tischer, Mike Waling, Duane Washkowiak, Jacqueline Weems.

Association Executives and Staff
Your assistance, courtesy, and general helpfulness throughout the year makes it possible to schedule and hold hearings or meetings at the member’s local facility.

Here’s wishing you all a Healthy, Happy, and Prosperous 2012!!!
Michelle Lind, Carole Ridley, Jan Steward, Kimberly Franzen and Christina Smalls.


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About the Author

Michelle Lind

K. Michelle Lind, CEO of Arizona REALTORS®, is also an attorney, State Bar of Arizona board certified real estate specialist, and the author of Arizona Real Estate: A Professional’s Guide to Law and Practice. Please note that this article is of a general nature and may not be updated or revised for accuracy as statutory or case law changes following the date of first publication. Further, this article reflects only the opinion of the author, is not intended as definitive legal advice and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.