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FAQ's: Professionalism

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• I took a Code of Ethics class several years ago. Do I have to take it again?
• Can I renew my real estate license if I haven't taken a Code of Ethics class?
• What is the goal in enforcing the Code of Ethics?
• Where do I file an ethics complaint if the REALTOR® is a member of a different Board/Association?
• Who can file an ethics complaint?
• Who can file an arbitration request?
• Is there a time limit?
• What is the difference between an ethics complaint and arbitration request?
• Are there certain Articles that can or can't be cited?
• Can Standards of Practice be cited in an ethics complaint?


• I took a Code of Ethics class several years ago. Do I have to take it again?
The National Association of REALTORS® requires every REALTOR® complete 2½ hours of Code of Ethics training once every 4 years. The 4 year cycle period is set by NAR, not 4 years from the last time you took the training. The current 4 year cycle started on January 1, 2013 and goes through December 31, 2016. All members are required to take a code of ethics training in order to satisfy the 2013-2016 COE requirements. January 1, 2017 starts the next cycle; at that time you have until December 31, 2020 to take another Code of ethics training to satisfy the 2017-2020 COE requirement.


• Can I renew my real estate license if I haven't taken a Code of Ethics class?
The VA Real Estate Commission does require that you take a three-hour ethics and standards of practice course once every two years to renew your real estate license and several course curriculums are available to complete this license requirement. However, completion of the Code of Ethics course is a REALTOR® obligation for your REALTOR® membership, not a state licensing requirement. The State of Virginia requires 16 hours of continuing education to renew you license. 3 of those hours must be ethics and standards of practive. The 2 ½ hour Code of Ethics does not satisfy the states ethics requirement, however a three hour Code of Ethics class may fulfill the requirement.


• What is the goal in enforcing the Code of Ethics?
Code enforcement achieves a number of goals. Where REALTORS® are wrongly or mistakenly charged with unethical conduct, the hearing process provides personal and professional vindication. Where violations are determined, the hearing process educates members about their professional obligations and serves as a meaningful deterrent to future violations. It is educational in that it raises the consciousness of members to the meaning and significance of the Code. Many ethics violations occur inadvertently or through ignorance, and the hearing proceeding serves as an effective educational tool.


• Where do I file an ethics complaint if the REALTOR® is a member of a different Board/Association?
Ethics complaints are filed where the respondent holds membership. The Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS® can only process complaints filed against members of our Association, whether they are filed by another REALTOR® or by a client/customer of a REALTOR®. If you are uncertain about where the REALTOR® holds membership give us a call and we can assist, 757-253-0028.


• Who can file an ethics complaint?
Any person, whether a member or not, having reason to believe that a member is in violation of the Code of Ethics.


• Who can file an arbitration request?
A customer, client, or REALTOR® principal (Broker of the Office). A REALTOR® non principal may also request arbitration provided the REALTOR® principal with whom he is associated joins in the arbitration request.


• Is there a time limit?
YES. Ethics complaints must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days of the time that the alleged offense and relating facts could have been known by the complainant in the exercise of reasonable diligence. Requests for arbitration must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within one hundred eighty (180) days after the facts constituting the arbitrable matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later.


• What is the difference between an ethics complaint and arbitration request?
An ethics complaint charges that a REALTOR® has violated an Article(s) of the Code of Ethics. An arbitration request involves a dispute that arises out of a real estate transaction and a disagreement between the parties as to entitlement to a sum of money.


• Are there certain Articles that can or can't be cited?
Only Articles 1 through 17 may be the basis of a complaint. The Preamble is aspirational and may not be used as a basis for charges of unethical conduct.


• Can Standards of Practice be cited in an ethics complaint?
No. Standards of Practice may be cited only in support of the Article(s) that was allegedly violated.

 

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