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2021 Arizona REALTORS® President Jan Leighton discusses the important Code of Ethics changes.

REALTORS® stand for and believe in equal housing opportunities and fair housing for all and are dedicated to fostering a community of inclusion and diversity.  Due to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) receiving an unprecedented number of complaints regarding discriminatory speech and conduct online this year, REALTORS® rallied to halt this type of behavior.  And, because “That’s Who We R,” effective November 13, 2020, the NAR Board of Directors passed multiple recommendations to extend the application of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics to discriminatory speech and conduct beyond a REALTORS’® real estate practices. 

The changes to the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual are as follows:

  1. Policy Statement 29 has been revised to apply to all REALTORS® activities; and
  2. A new Standard of Practice (SOP) 10-5 under Article 10 states:

REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

In conjunction with the adoption of SOP 10-5 and revised Policy Statement 29, a new Appendix XII to Part Four of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual (Appendix) was also approved by the Board of Directors so that associations across the country will have guidance  to ensure the uniform application of SOP 10-5 and Policy Statement 29.

Additionally, effective January 1, 2021, the definition of “public trust” will be expanded to include discrimination against the protected classes under Article 10 of the Code of Ethics and all fraud. More specifically, the definition of “public trust” currently includes demonstrated misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm.

The approved change to “public trust” expands the definition to include all discrimination against the protected classes under Article 10, and all fraud. As a result, Arizona REALTORS® will now be required to share with the Department of Real Estate final ethics decisions that find a REALTOR® in violation of the Code of Ethics in instances involving real estate-related activities and transactions where the public trust, as expanded, was deemed to have been violated.

For an in-depth understanding of these changes, please see NAR’s FAQs.



About the Author

Nikki Salgat

Nikki J. Salgat, Esq. is associate counsel to the Arizona REALTORS®. This article is of a general nature and reflects only the opinion of the author at the time it was drafted. It is not intended as definitive legal advice, and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.