Home » Resolve Disputes » Filing an Ethics Complaint » Common Questions About Filing Complaints

This list of commonly-asked questions may assist you prior to filing a complaint

When is a real estate agent a REALTOR®?

A real estate agent is a REALTOR® when they become a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). The term REALTOR® can only be used by a real estate agent who, through their membership in NAR, subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics.

A real estate agent who is licensed by the Arizona Department of Real Estate may not be a REALTOR® as there is no requirement to join the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® in order to promote or sell real estate.


Transactional Issues

What can my REALTOR® do if the other REALTOR® in a transaction is not communicating with them?

If your REALTOR® has been unsuccessful in their efforts to communicate with another REALTOR®, your REALTOR®’s broker may contact the other REALTOR®’s broker to open the lines of communication.

A broker is a designated REALTOR® who supervises REALTORS®, and has the ultimate responsibility for their agent’s actions.

Can I find out if anyone else placed an offer on the property I want to purchase?

Only with their seller’s approval can REALTORS® disclose the existence of offers on the property.

If a competing offer was accepted on a property I have an offer on, can I find out what the accepted price was?

The information becomes available to the public the day a sale is recorded. You can check with the county in which the sale was recorded for the selling price.

What is dual agency?

When one broker either individually, or two salespeople working for the same broker, represent both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction.

Why did the seller get my earnest money?

If the funds were being held at a title or escrow company, and the terms of the contract were not met within the provisions of the contract, the title or escrow company made a decision to release the earnest money in accordance to the contract provisions.

AAR offers mediation through the Dispute Resolution System (DRS) between a Seller and a Buyer if one party is disputing the return of an earnest deposit and information may be found at BuyerSellerDisputePkt . You may also consider consulting legal counsel. Attorneys may be located through the State Bar at  http://www.azbar.org

The appliances were at the property when the seller accepted my offer. After close of escrow when I took possession, the appliances were gone.

Contact your REALTOR® to determine if the seller is responsible to replace the appliances. In general, appliances are personal property and as such, must be written into the contract, except built ins or as indicated in lines 30-39, and possibly lines 41-44 of the AAR Residential Resale Purchase Contract, February, 2011, if they are to be part of the purchase of the property.

If the appliances were to be included in the sale of a property, determine if the property was vandalized, you may need to file a police report.

If the appliances were to have remained with the property, and so indicated contractually, the parties may mediate their dispute or consider consulting legal counsel.


Renting, Lease and Property Management Issues

A copy of the Arizona Landlord & Tenant Act may be found at: Arizona Landlord Tenant Act

Who is responsible to refund my security deposits?

The executed lease agreement indicates if a property management firm has control over the deposits or the landlord personally.  The responsible party indicated in the lease, is therefore the person to contact regarding any possible refunds. Referencing the AAR Residential Lease Agreement, February 2008, lines 59-81, addresses deposits and refunds.

Why is my cleaning or security deposit refund less than what I paid?

If the lease agreement provided for carpets to be cleaned by the tenant at lease termination, as an example, and the tenant moved out without having the carpets cleaned, the property manager or landlord may withhold money to have the service performed in accordance with the lease agreement. Certain deposits are indicated as refundable on your lease agreement while other deposits are indicated as non-refundable, for instance a pet deposit. The AAR Residential Lease Agreement, February 2008, lines 59-69 sets forth refundable and non-refundable deposits.


Complaints: Real Estate Agent Issues

I want to file a complaint because the REALTOR® 1) won’t return my phone calls, 2) is rude when speaking to me, and/or 3) won’t answer my questions.

These three issues may not directly relate to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Code of Ethics (Code). The Arizona Association of REALTORS® may still be able to assist you. Consider allowing a REALTOR® Ombudsman to contact you and perhaps the REALTOR® to try and open the door to communication. A REALTOR® Ombudsman may also describe customary practices to help you better understand a real estate transaction.

Stop for a minute. Think about the relationship to see if there is a failure to perform as described in the Code.  If you notice the Code actually relates to the REALTORS® failure to perform, consider filing for mediation or filing a formal complaint.

A copy of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Code of Ethics may be found at:  REALTOR® Code of Ethics

What is the difference between the Arizona Association of REALTORS® function and that of the Arizona Department of Real Estate?

You may use the “Find A REALTOR®” at the Arizona Association of REALTORS® (AAR) website:  AAR Website. AAR reviews and considers a member’s behavior (ethics) to determine if there is a violation to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

The Arizona Department of Real Estate is a State of Arizona regulatory agency which issues licenses to real estate brokers and salespeople and investigates violations of Arizona real estate law (statutes and Commissioner’s Rules). They may be contacted at:  Arizona Department of Real Estate

Dispute Resolution Services

The Arizona Association of REALTORS® Resolve Disputes

  • Ombudsman assistance – Ethics Complaints – Mediation Requests
    • REALTOR®/client
    • REALTOR®/REALTOR®
  • Commission disputes between REALTORS®
  • Buyer Seller Dispute Resolution

Better Business Bureau

  • Attempts to resolved disputes between members and their customers www.bbb.org

Civil Rights/Consumer Protection

Criminal actions (trespassing, assault, theft, etc.)

  • Contact your local law enforcement agency.

Financial Concerns

  • Small Claims, Civil, or Superior Courts
  • The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions regulates Escrow and Mortgage Companies inArizona including loan and interest rate issues. http://azdfi.gov/

Home Owner Association Issues

Insurance

Construction/Contractor Issues

  • The Arizona Registrar of Contractors has jurisdiction concerning construction defects. http://www.azroc.gov/