The National Association of REALTORS®, all the State Associations and local Associations of REALTORS® are governed by the Code of Ethics, ensuring professional and ethical conduct of all REALTOR® members. The Code was first adopted in 1913 as the “Rules of Conduct” for voluntary adoption by local Associations until 1924 when it was made mandatory as a condition of membership.
Each new member of Central Oregon Association of REALTORS® is required to attend a 2.5-hour ethics training within six months of joining COAR. These classes are held at the COAR office every calendar quarter and conducted by a REALTOR® trainer certified by NAR to teach this course. Beginning in 2001, the National Association of REALTORS® made it mandatory for every REALTOR® member to re-take this course once within each four years of membership, so the Code of Ethics education is refreshed for each member on a regular basis. COAR also welcomes participation in Code of Ethics education by any interested REALTOR® member at any time during their membership.
The Code of Ethics is reviewed by NAR on a regular basis and enhanced and updated over time to remain current and accurate. This updated Code is available to all members and enforced by the Professional Standards process at COAR.
The Professional Standards process allows anyone to file a complaint against a COAR REALTOR® member if the complainant believes the respondent REALTOR® violated the Code of Ethics. This is a lengthy process whereby the complaint is presented to a Grievance Committee, fellow REALTORS® who are trained to review to complaint to see if it has merit to be passed on to a Hearing Committee.
The Professional Standards Committee is formed by REALTORS® trained to review both sides of the complaint, listen to testimony by the complainant and respondent and any witness or legal counsel they bring to the hearing, and make a fair and just third-party judgment about whether the Code has been violated. There is also a time period built in for appeal by the party who is found at fault, and the final findings are ratified by the COAR Board of Directors.
This entire process can take up to three or four months based on the coordination of each party’s schedules and whether or not the appeals process is engaged.
In addition to any discipline imposed there shall be an $300 administrative processssing fee charged against any member found in violation of the Code of Ethics.