Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors®

 

Effective January 1, 2018

Where the word Realtors® is used in this Code and Preamble, it shall be

deemed to include Realtor-Associate®s.

While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than

those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and the

law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.

Preamble

Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership

depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.

Realtors® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens

require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of

land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building

of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms,

and the preservation of a healthful environment.

Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce.

They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which

Realtors® should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be

diligent in preparing themselves. Realtors®, therefore, are zealous to

maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their

fellow Realtors® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.

In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers,

the public, and each other, Realtors® continuously strive to become and

remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable

professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with

others. They identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of

Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices

which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to

the real estate profession. Realtors® having direct personal knowledge of

conduct that may violate the Code of Ethics involving misappropriation of

client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting

in substantial economic harm, bring such matters to the attention of the

appropriate Board or Association of Realtors®. (Amended 1/00)

Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the

best interests of those who utilize their services, Realtors® urge exclusive

representation of clients; do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over

their competitors; and they refrain from making unsolicited comments about

other practitioners. In instances where their opinion is sought, or where

Realtors® believe that comment is necessary, their opinion is offered in an

objective, professional manner, uninfluenced by any personal motivation or

potential advantage or gain.

The term Realtor® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high

integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in

business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients

ever can justify departure from this ideal.

In the interpretation of this obligation, Realtors® can take no safer guide

than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied

in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you,

do ye even so to them.”

Accepting this standard as their own, Realtors® pledge to observe its spirit

in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through associates

or others, or via technological means, and to conduct their business in

accordance with the tenets set forth below. (Amended 1/07)

Duties to Clients and Customers

Article 1

When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an

agent, Realtors® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests

of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve

Realtors® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving

a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity,

Realtors® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly. (Amended 1/01)

• Standard of Practice 1-1

Realtors®, when acting as principals in a real estate transaction, remain

obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 1-2

The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass all real

estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted in person,

electronically, or through any other means.

The duties the Code of Ethics imposes are applicable whether Realtors®

are acting as agents or in legally recognized non-agency capacities

except that any duty imposed exclusively on agents by law or regulation

shall not be imposed by this Code of Ethics on Realtors® acting in

non-agency capacities.

As used in this Code of Ethics, “client” means the person(s) or entity(ies)

with whom a Realtor® or a Realtor®’s firm has an agency or legally

recognized non-agency relationship; “customer” means a party to a real

estate transaction who receives information, services, or benefits but has

no contractual relationship with the Realtor® or the Realtor®’s firm;

“prospect” means a purchaser, seller, tenant, or landlord who is not

subject to a representation relationship with the Realtor® or Realtor®’s

firm; “agent” means a real estate licensee (including brokers and sales

associates) acting in an agency relationship as defined by state law or

regulation; and “broker” means a real estate licensee (including brokers

and sales associates) acting as an agent or in a legally recognized

non-agency capacity. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/07)

• Standard of Practice 1-3

Realtors®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead

the owner as to market value.

• Standard of Practice 1-4

Realtors®, when seeking to become a buyer/tenant representative, shall

not mislead buyers or tenants as to savings or other benefits that might

be realized through use of the Realtor®’s services. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 1-5

Realtors® may represent the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant in the

same transaction only after full disclosure to and with informed consent

of both parties. (Adopted 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 1-6

Realtors® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly

as possible. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 1-7

When acting as listing brokers, Realtors® shall continue to submit to the

seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of

a lease unless the seller/landlord has waived this obligation in writing.

Realtors® shall not be obligated to continue to market the property

after an offer has been accepted by the seller/landlord. Realtors® shall

recommend that sellers/landlords obtain the advice of legal counsel

prior to acceptance of a subsequent offer except where the acceptance

is contingent on the termination of the pre-existing purchase contract or

lease. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 1-8

Realtors®, acting as agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall submit to

buyers/tenants all offers and counter-offers until acceptance but have no

obligation to continue to show properties to their clients after an offer has

been accepted unless otherwise agreed in writing. Realtors®, acting as

agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall recommend that buyers/tenants

obtain the advice of legal counsel if there is a question as to whether a

pre-existing contract has been terminated. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/99)

• Standard of Practice 1-9

The obligation of Realtors® to preserve confidential information (as

defined by state law) provided by their clients in the course of any agency

relationship or non-agency relationship recognized by law continues after

termination of agency relationships or any non-agency relationships

recognized by law. Realtors® shall not knowingly, during or following the

termination of professional relationships with their clients:

1)  reveal confidential information of clients; or

2)  use confidential information of clients to the disadvantage of clients; or

3)  use confidential information of clients for the Realtor®’s advantage

or the advantage of third parties unless:

a)  clients consent after full disclosure; or

b)  Realtors® are required by court order; or

c)  it is the intention of a client to commit a crime and the information

is necessary to prevent the crime; or

d) it is necessary to defend a Realtor® or the Realtor®

’s employees or

associates against an accusation of wrongful conduct.

Information concerning latent material defects is not considered confidential

information under this Code of Ethics. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/01)

• Standard of Practice 1-10

Realtors® shall, consistent with the terms and conditions of their real

estate licensure and their property management agreement, competently

manage the property of clients with due regard for the rights, safety and

health of tenants and others lawfully on the premises. (Adopted 1/95,

Amended 1/00)

• Standard of Practice 1-11

Realtors® who are employed to maintain or manage a client’s property

shall exercise due diligence and make reasonable efforts to protect it

against reasonably foreseeable contingencies and losses. (Adopted 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 1-12

When entering into listing contracts, Realtors® must advise sellers/

landlords of:

1)  the Realtor®’s company policies regarding cooperation and the

amount(s) of any compensation that will be offered to subagents,

buyer/tenant agents, and/or brokers acting in legally recognized

non-agency capacities;

2)  the fact that buyer/tenant agents or brokers, even if compensated by

listing brokers, or by sellers/landlords may represent the interests of

buyers/tenants; and

3)  any potential for listing brokers to act as disclosed dual agents, e.g.,

buyer/tenant agents. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/03)

• Standard of Practice 1-13

When entering into buyer/tenant agreements, Realtors® must advise

potential clients of:

1)  the Realtor®’s company policies regarding cooperation;

2)  the amount of compensation to be paid by the client;

3)  the potential for additional or offsetting compensation from other

brokers, from the seller or landlord, or from other parties;

4)  any potential for the buyer/tenant representative to act as a disclosed

dual agent, e.g., listing broker, subagent, landlord’s agent, etc.; and

5)  the possibility that sellers or sellers’ representatives may not

treat the existence, terms, or conditions of offers as confidential

unless confidentiality is required by law, regulation, or by any

confidentiality agreement between the parties. (Adopted 1/93,

Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/06)

• Standard of Practice 1-14

Fees for preparing appraisals or other valuations shall not be contingent

upon the amount of the appraisal or valuation. (Adopted 1/02)

• Standard of Practice 1-15

Realtors®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers

shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the

property. Where disclosure is authorized, Realtors® shall also disclose,

if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another

licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker. (Adopted 1/03,

Amended 1/09)

• Standard of Practice 1-16

Realtors® shall not access or use, or permit or enable others to access or

use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those

authorized by the owner or seller. (Adopted 1/12)

Article 2

Realtors® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment

of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. Realtors®

shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in the property,

to advise on matters outside the scope of their real estate license, or

to disclose facts which are confidential under the scope of agency or

non-agency relationships as defined by state law. (Amended 1/00)

• Standard of Practice 2-1

Realtors® shall only be obligated to discover and disclose adverse factors

reasonably apparent to someone with expertise in those areas required

by their real estate licensing authority. Article 2 does not impose upon

the Realtor® the obligation of expertise in other professional or technical

disciplines. (Amended 1/96)

• Standard of Practice 2-2

(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-12 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 2-3

(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-13 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 2-4

Realtors® shall not be parties to the naming of a false consideration

in any document, unless it be the naming of an obviously nominal

consideration.

• Standard of Practice 2-5

Factors defined as “non-material” by law or regulation or which are

expressly referenced in law or regulation as not being subject to disclosure

are considered not “pertinent” for purposes of Article 2. (Adopted 1/93)

Article 3

Realtors® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is

not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include

the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate

another broker. (Amended 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 3-1

Realtors®, acting as exclusive agents or brokers of sellers/ landlords,

establish the terms and conditions of offers to cooperate. Unless

expressly indicated in offers to cooperate, cooperating brokers may not

assume that the offer of cooperation includes an offer of compensation.

Terms of compensation, if any, shall be ascertained by cooperating

brokers before beginning efforts to accept the offer of cooperation.

(Amended 1/99)

• Standard of Practice 3-2

Any change in compensation offered for cooperative services must be

communicated to the other Realtor® prior to the time that Realtor®

submits an offer to purchase/lease the property. After a Realtor® has

submitted an offer to purchase or lease property, the listing broker may

not attempt to unilaterally modify the offered compensation with respect

to that cooperative transaction. (Amended 1/14)

• Standard of Practice 3-3

Standard of Practice 3-2 does not preclude the listing broker and

cooperating broker from entering into an agreement to change

cooperative compensation. (Adopted 1/94)

• Standard of Practice 3-4

Realtors®, acting as listing brokers, have an affirmative obligation to

disclose the existence of dual or variable rate commission arrangements

(i.e., listings where one amount of commission is payable if the listing

broker’s firm is the procuring cause of sale/lease and a different amount

of commission is payable if the sale/lease results through the efforts of

the seller/landlord or a cooperating broker). The listing broker shall, as

soon as practical, disclose the existence of such arrangements to potential

cooperating brokers and shall, in response to inquiries from cooperating

brokers, disclose the differential that would result in a cooperative

transaction or in a sale/lease that results through the efforts of the seller/

landlord. If the cooperating broker is a buyer/tenant representative, the

buyer/tenant representative must disclose such information to their client

before the client makes an offer to purchase or lease. (Amended 1/02)

• Standard of Practice 3-5

It is the obligation of subagents to promptly disclose all pertinent facts

to the principal’s agent prior to as well as after a purchase or lease

agreement is executed. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 3-6

Realtors® shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including

offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation.

(Adopted 5/86, Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 3-7

When seeking information from another Realtor® concerning property

under a management or listing agreement, Realtors® shall disclose

their Realtor® status and whether their interest is personal or on behalf

of a client and, if on behalf of a client, their relationship with the client.

(Amended 1/11)

• Standard of Practice 3-8

Realtors® shall not misrepresent the availability of access to show or

inspect a listed property. (Amended 11/87)

• Standard of Practice 3-9

Realtors® shall not provide access to listed property on terms

other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.

(Adopted 1/10)

• Standard of Practice 3-10

The duty to cooperate established in Article 3 relates to the obligation to

share information on listed property, and to make property available to

other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers/tenants when it is

in the best interests of sellers/landlords. (Adopted 1/11)

Article 4

Realtors® shall not acquire an interest in or buy or present offers from

themselves, any member of their immediate families, their firms or any

member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership interest,

any real property without making their true position known to the owner or

the owner’s agent or broker. In selling property they own, or in which they

have any interest, Realtors® shall reveal their ownership or interest in

writing to the purchaser or the purchaser’s representative. (Amended 1/00)

• Standard of Practice 4-1

For the protection of all parties, the disclosures required by Article 4

shall be in writing and provided by Realtors® prior to the signing of any

contract. (Adopted 2/86)

Article 5

Realtors® shall not undertake to provide professional services concerning

a property or its value where they have a present or contemplated interest

unless such interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.

Article 6

Realtors® shall not accept any commission, rebate, or profit

on expenditures made for their client, without the client’s knowledge and

consent.

When recommending real estate products or services (e.g., homeowner’s

insurance, warranty programs, mortgage financing, title insurance,

etc.), Realtors® shall disclose to the client or customer to whom the

recommendation is made any financial benefits or fees, other than real

estate referral fees, the Realtor® or Realtor®’s firm may receive as a

direct result of such recommendation. (Amended 1/99)

• Standard of Practice 6-1

Realtors® shall not recommend or suggest to a client or a customer the

use of services of another organization or business entity in which they

have a direct interest without disclosing such interest at the time of the

recommendation or suggestion. (Amended 5/88)

Article 7

In a transaction, Realtors® shall not accept compensation from more than

one party, even if permitted by law, without disclosure to all parties and the

informed consent of the Realtor®’s client or clients. (Amended 1/93)

Article 8

Realtors® shall keep in a special account in an appropriate financial

institution, separated from their own funds, monies coming into their

possession in trust for other persons, such as escrows, trust funds, clients’

monies, and other like items.

Article 9

Realtors®, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible

that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not

limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and

leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the

specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A

copy of each agreement shall be furnished to each party to such agreements

upon their signing or initialing. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 9-1

For the protection of all parties, Realtors® shall use reasonable care

to ensure that documents pertaining to the purchase, sale, or lease of

real estate are kept current through the use of written extensions or

amendments. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 9-2

When assisting or enabling a client or customer in establishing a

contractual relationship (e.g., listing and representation agreements,

purchase agreements, leases, etc.) electronically, Realtors® shall make

reasonable efforts to explain the nature and disclose the specific terms

of the contractual relationship being established prior to it being agreed

to by a contracting party. (Adopted 1/07)

Duties to the Public

Article 10

Realtors® shall not deny equal professional services to any person

for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status,

national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Realtors® shall not

be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or

persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status,

national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

Realtors®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not

discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race,

color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual

orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

• Standard of Practice 10-1

When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, Realtors®

shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious

or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in

any activity which may result in panic selling, however, Realtors® may

provide other demographic information. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/06)

• Standard of Practice 10-2

When not involved in the sale or lease of a residence, Realtors® may

provide demographic information related to a property, transaction or

professional assignment to a party if such demographic information

is (a) deemed by the Realtor® to be needed to assist with or

complete, in a manner consistent with Article 10, a real estate

transaction or professional assignment and (b) is obtained or derived

from a recognized, reliable, independent, and impartial source. The

source of such information and any additions, deletions, modifications,

interpretations, or other changes shall be disclosed in reasonable detail.

(Adopted 1/05, Renumbered 1/06)

• Standard of Practice 10-3

Realtors® shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement

with respect to selling or renting of a property that indicates

any preference, limitations or discrimination based on race, color,

religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation,

or gender identity. (Adopted 1/94, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06,

Amended 1/14)

• Standard of Practice 10-4

As used in Article 10 “real estate employment practices” relates to

employees and independent contractors providing real estate-related

services and the administrative and clerical staff directly supporting those

individuals. (Adopted 1/00, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06)

Article 11

The services which Realtors® provide to their clients and customers

shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are

reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which

they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property

management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land

brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate

syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

Realtors® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services

concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of

competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent

on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed

to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so

identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be

set forth. (Amended 1/10)

• Standard of Practice 11-1

When Realtors® prepare opinions of real property value or price they must:

1) be knowledgeable about the type of property being valued,

2) have access to the information and resources necessary to formulate

an accurate opinion, and

3) be familiar with the area where the subject property is located

unless lack of any of these is disclosed to the party requesting the opinion

in advance.

When an opinion of value or price is prepared other than in pursuit of a

listing or to assist a potential purchaser in formulating a purchase offer, the

opinion shall include the following unless the party requesting the opinion

requires a specific type of report or different data set:

1) identification of the subject property

2) date prepared

3) defined value or price

4) limiting conditions, including statements of purpose(s) and intended

user(s)

5) any present or contemplated interest, including the possibility of

representing the seller/landlord or buyers/tenants

6) basis for the opinion, including applicable market data

7) if the opinion is not an appraisal, a statement to that effect

8) disclosure of whether and when a physical inspection of the property’s

exterior was conducted

9) disclosure of whether and when a physical inspection of the property’s

interior was conducted

10) disclosure of whether the Realtor® has any conflicts of interest

(Amended 1/14)

• Standard of Practice 11-2

The obligations of the Code of Ethics in respect of real estate disciplines

other than appraisal shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with

the standards of competence and practice which clients and the public

reasonably require to protect their rights and interests considering the

complexity of the transaction, the availability of expert assistance, and,

where the Realtor® is an agent or subagent, the obligations of a fiduciary.

(Adopted 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 11-3

When Realtors® provide consultive services to clients which involve

advice or counsel for a fee (not a commission), such advice shall be

rendered in an objective manner and the fee shall not be contingent on

the substance of the advice or counsel given. If brokerage or transaction

services are to be provided in addition to consultive services, a separate

compensation may be paid with prior agreement between the client and

Realtor®. (Adopted 1/96)

• Standard of Practice 11-4

The competency required by Article 11 relates to services contracted for

between Realtors® and their clients or customers; the duties expressly

imposed by the Code of Ethics; and the duties imposed by law or

regulation. (Adopted 1/02)

Article 12

Realtors® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications

and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other

representations. Realtors® shall ensure that their status as real estate

professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other

representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications

are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate

professional. (Amended 1/08)

• Standard of Practice 12-1

Realtors® may use the term “free” and similar terms in their advertising

and in other representations provided that all terms governing availability

of the offered product or service are clearly disclosed at the same time.

(Amended 1/97)

• Standard of Practice 12-2

Realtors® may represent their services as “free” or without cost even if

they expect to receive compensation from a source other than their client

provided that the potential for the Realtor® to obtain a benefit from a third

party is clearly disclosed at the same time. (Amended 1/97)

• Standard of Practice 12-3

The offering of premiums, prizes, merchandise discounts or other

inducements to list, sell, purchase, or lease is not, in itself, unethical

even if receipt of the benefit is contingent on listing, selling, purchasing,

or leasing through the Realtor® making the offer. However, Realtors®

must exercise care and candor in any such advertising or other public

or private representations so that any party interested in receiving or

otherwise benefiting from the Realtor®’s offer will have clear, thorough,

advance understanding of all the terms and conditions of the offer. The

offering of any inducements to do business is subject to the limitations

and restrictions of state law and the ethical obligations established by

any applicable Standard of Practice. (Amended 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 12-4

Realtors® shall not offer for sale/lease or advertise property without

authority. When acting as listing brokers or as subagents, Realtors®

shall not quote a price different from that agreed upon with the seller/

landlord. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 12-5

Realtors® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or

affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property

in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without

disclosing the name of that Realtor®’s firm in a reasonable and readily

apparent manner either in the advertisement or in electronic advertising

via a link to a display with all required disclosures. (Adopted 11/86,

Amended 1/16)

• Standard of Practice 12-6

Realtors®, when advertising unlisted real property for sale/lease in

which they have an ownership interest, shall disclose their status as

both owners/landlords and as Realtors® or real estate licensees.

(Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 12-7

Only Realtors® who participated in the transaction as the listing broker or

cooperating broker (selling broker) may claim to have “sold” the property.

Prior to closing, a cooperating broker may post a “sold” sign only with

the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/96)

• Standard of Practice 12-8

The obligation to present a true picture in representations to the public

includes information presented, provided, or displayed on Realtors®’

websites. Realtors® shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that

information on their websites is current. When it becomes apparent that

information on a Realtor®’s website is no longer current or accurate,

Realtors® shall promptly take corrective action. (Adopted 1/07)

• Standard of Practice 12-9

Realtor® firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of

licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.

Websites of Realtors® and non-member licensees affiliated with a

Realtor® firm shall disclose the firm’s name and that Realtor®’s or

non-member licensee’s state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily

apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

• Standard of Practice 12-10

Realtors®’ obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and

representations to the public includes Internet content, images, and the

URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits Realtors® from:

1)  engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage

websites;

2)  manipulating (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing

and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading

result;

3)  deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to

direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; or

4)  presenting content developed by others without either attribution or

without permission; or

5)  otherwise misleading consumers, including use of misleading images.

(Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/18)

• Standard of Practice 12-11

Realtors® intending to share or sell consumer information gathered via

the Internet shall disclose that possibility in a reasonable and readily

apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

• Standard of Practice 12-12

Realtors® shall not:

1)  use URLs or domain names that present less than a true picture, or

2)  register URLs or domain names which, if used, would present less

than a true picture. (Adopted 1/08)

• Standard of Practice 12-13

The obligation to present a true picture in advertising, marketing, and

representations allows Realtors® to use and display only professional

designations, certifications, and other credentials to which they are

legitimately entitled. (Adopted 1/08)

Article 13

Realtors® shall not engage in activities that constitute the unauthorized

practice of law and shall recommend that legal counsel be obtained when

the interest of any party to the transaction requires it.

Article 14

If charged with unethical practice or asked to present evidence or to

cooperate in any other way, in any professional standards proceeding or

investigation, Realtors® shall place all pertinent facts before the proper

tribunals of the Member Board or affiliated institute, society, or council in

which membership is held and shall take no action to disrupt or obstruct

such processes. (Amended 1/99)

• Standard of Practice 14-1

Realtors® shall not be subject to disciplinary proceedings in

more than one Board of Realtors® or affiliated institute, society,

or council in which they hold membership with respect to alleged

violations of the Code of Ethics relating to the same transaction

or event. (Amended 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 14-2

Realtors® shall not make any unauthorized disclosure or dissemination

of the allegations, findings, or decision developed in connection with an

ethics hearing or appeal or in connection with an arbitration hearing or

procedural review. (Amended 1/92)

• Standard of Practice 14-3

Realtors® shall not obstruct the Board’s investigative or professional

standards proceedings by instituting or threatening to institute actions for

libel, slander, or defamation against any party to a professional standards

proceeding or their witnesses based on the filing of an arbitration request,

an ethics complaint, or testimony given before any tribunal. (Adopted

11/87, Amended 1/99)

• Standard of Practice 14-4

Realtors® shall not intentionally impede the Board’s investigative or

disciplinary proceedings by filing multiple ethics complaints based on

the same event or transaction. (Adopted 11/88)

Duties to Realtors®

Article 15

Realtors® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading

statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or

their business practices. (Amended 1/12)

• Standard of Practice 15-1

Realtors® shall not knowingly or recklessly file false or unfounded

ethics complaints. (Adopted 1/00)

• Standard of Practice 15-2

The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements

about other real estate professionals, their businesses, and their

business practices includes the duty to not knowingly or recklessly

publish, repeat, retransmit, or republish false or misleading statements

made by others. This duty applies whether false or misleading

statements are repeated in person, in writing, by technological means

(e.g., the Internet), or by any other means. (Adopted 1/07, Amended

1/12)

• Standard of Practice 15-3

The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements

about other real estate professionals, their businesses, and their

business practices includes the duty to publish a clarification about or

to remove statements made by others on electronic media the Realtor®

controls once the Realtor® knows the statement is false or misleading.

(Adopted 1/10, Amended 1/12)

Article 16

Realtors® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent

with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements

that other Realtors® have with clients. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-1

Article 16 is not intended to prohibit aggressive or innovative

business practices which are otherwise ethical and does not prohibit

disagreements with other Realtors® involving commission, fees,

compensation or other forms of payment or expenses. (Adopted 1/93,

Amended 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 16-2

Article 16 does not preclude Realtors® from making general announcements

to prospects describing their services and the terms of their availability even

though some recipients may have entered into agency agreements or

other exclusive relationships with another Realtor®. A general telephone

canvass, general mailing or distribution addressed to all prospects in a given

geographical area or in a given profession, business, club, or organization,

or other classification or group is deemed “general” for purposes of this

standard. (Amended 1/04)

Article 16 is intended to recognize as unethical two basic types

of solicitations:

First, telephone or personal solicitations of property owners who have

been identified by a real estate sign, multiple listing compilation, or

other information service as having exclusively listed their property

with another Realtor® and

Second, mail or other forms of written solicitations of prospects

whose properties are exclusively listed with another Realtor® when

such solicitations are not part of a general mailing but are directed

specifically to property owners identified through compilations of

current listings, “for sale” or “for rent” signs, or other sources of

information required by Article 3 and Multiple Listing Service rules to

be made available to other Realtors® under offers of subagency or

cooperation. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-3

Article 16 does not preclude Realtors® from contacting the client of

another broker for the purpose of offering to provide, or entering into a

contract to provide, a different type of real estate service unrelated to

the type of service currently being provided (e.g., property management

as opposed to brokerage) or from offering the same type of service for

property not subject to other brokers’ exclusive agreements. However,

information received through a Multiple Listing Service or any other offer

of cooperation may not be used to target clients of other Realtors® to

whom such offers to provide services may be made. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-4

Realtors® shall not solicit a listing which is currently listed exclusively

with another broker. However, if the listing broker, when asked by

the Realtor®, refuses to disclose the expiration date and nature

of such listing, i.e., an exclusive right to sell, an exclusive agency,

open listing, or other form of contractual agreement between the

listing broker and the client, the Realtor® may contact the owner to

secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the

Realtor® might take a future listing or, alternatively, may take a listing

to become effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive listing.

(Amended 1/94)

• Standard of Practice 16-5

Realtors® shall not solicit buyer/tenant agreements from buyers/

tenants who are subject to exclusive buyer/tenant agreements.

However, if asked by a Realtor®, the broker refuses to disclose the

expiration date of the exclusive buyer/tenant agreement, the Realtor®

may contact the buyer/tenant to secure such information and may

discuss the terms upon which the Realtor® might enter into a future

buyer/tenant agreement or, alternatively, may enter into a buyer/tenant

agreement to become effective upon the expiration of any existing

exclusive buyer/tenant agreement. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 16-6

When Realtors® are contacted by the client of another Realtor® regarding

the creation of an exclusive relationship to provide the same type of service,

and Realtors® have not directly or indirectly initiated such discussions, they

may discuss the terms upon which they might enter into a future agreement

or, alternatively, may enter into an agreement which becomes effective upon

expiration of any existing exclusive agreement. (Amended 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 16-7

The fact that a prospect has retained a Realtor® as an exclusive

representative or exclusive broker in one or more past transactions

does not preclude other Realtors® from seeking such prospect’s future

business. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-8

The fact that an exclusive agreement has been entered into with a

Realtor® shall not preclude or inhibit any other Realtor® from entering

into a similar agreement after the expiration of the prior agreement.

(Amended 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 16-9

Realtors®, prior to entering into a representation agreement, have an

affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to determine whether

the prospect is subject to a current, valid exclusive agreement to provide

the same type of real estate service. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-10

Realtors®, acting as buyer or tenant representatives or brokers, shall

disclose that relationship to the seller/landlord’s representative or broker

at first contact and shall provide written confirmation of that disclosure

to the seller/landlord’s representative or broker not later than execution

of a purchase agreement or lease. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-11

On unlisted property, Realtors® acting as buyer/tenant representatives

or brokers shall disclose that relationship to the seller/landlord at first

contact for that buyer/tenant and shall provide written confirmation of such

disclosure to the seller/landlord not later than execution of any purchase

or lease agreement. (Amended 1/04)

Realtors® shall make any request for anticipated compensation from the

seller/landlord at first contact. (Amended 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 16-12

Realtors®, acting as representatives or brokers of sellers/landlords or

as subagents of listing brokers, shall disclose that relationship to buyers/

tenants as soon as practicable and shall provide written confirmation

of such disclosure to buyers/tenants not later than execution of any

purchase or lease agreement. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-13

All dealings concerning property exclusively listed, or with buyer/tenants

who are subject to an exclusive agreement shall be carried on with the

client’s representative or broker, and not with the client, except with the

consent of the client’s representative or broker or except where such

dealings are initiated by the client.

Before providing substantive services (such as writing a purchase offer

or presenting a CMA) to prospects, Realtors® shall ask prospects

whether they are a party to any exclusive representation agreement.

Realtors® shall not knowingly provide substantive services concerning

a prospective transaction to prospects who are parties to exclusive

representation agreements, except with the consent of the prospects’

exclusive representatives or at the direction of prospects. (Adopted 1/93,

Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-14

Realtors® are free to enter into contractual relationships or to negotiate

with sellers/landlords, buyers/tenants or others who are not subject to an

exclusive agreement but shall not knowingly obligate them to pay more

than one commission except with their informed consent. (Amended 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 16-15

In cooperative transactions Realtors® shall compensate cooperating

Realtors® (principal brokers) and shall not compensate nor offer

to compensate, directly or indirectly, any of the sales licensees employed

by or affiliated with other Realtors® without the prior express knowledge

and consent of the cooperating broker.

• Standard of Practice 16-16

Realtors®, acting as subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers,

shall not use the terms of an offer to purchase/lease to attempt to modify

the listing broker’s offer of compensation to subagents or buyer/tenant

representatives or brokers nor make the submission of an executed offer

to purchase/lease contingent on the listing broker’s agreement to modify

the offer of compensation. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-17

Realtors®, acting as subagents or as buyer/tenant representatives or

brokers, shall not attempt to extend a listing broker’s offer of cooperation

and/or compensation to other brokers without the consent of the listing

broker. (Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 16-18

Realtors® shall not use information obtained from listing brokers through

offers to cooperate made through multiple listing services or through other

offers of cooperation to refer listing brokers’ clients to other brokers or to

create buyer/tenant relationships with listing brokers’ clients, unless such

use is authorized by listing brokers. (Amended 1/02)

• Standard of Practice 16-19

Signs giving notice of property for sale, rent, lease, or exchange shall not

be placed on property without consent of the seller/landlord. (Amended

1/93)

• Standard of Practice 16-20

Realtors®, prior to or after their relationship with their current firm

is terminated, shall not induce clients of their current firm to cancel

exclusive contractual agreements between the client and that firm.

This does not preclude Realtors® (principals) from establishing

agreements with their associated licensees governing assignability

of exclusive agreements. (Adopted 1/98, Amended 1/10)

Article 17

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 policies of the Board 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 policies of the Board,

provided the clients agree to be bound by any resulting agreement or

award.

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. (Amended 1/12)

• Standard of Practice 17-1

The filing of litigation and refusal to withdraw from it by Realtors® in an

arbitrable matter constitutes a refusal to arbitrate. (Adopted 2/86)

• Standard of Practice 17-2

Article 17 does not require Realtors® to mediate in those circumstances

when all parties to the dispute advise the Board in writing that they

choose not to mediate through the Board’s facilities. The fact that all

parties decline to participate in mediation does not relieve Realtors®

of the duty to arbitrate.

Article 17 does not require Realtors® to arbitrate in those circumstances

when all parties to the dispute advise the Board in writing that they choose

not to arbitrate before the Board. (Amended 1/12)

• Standard of Practice 17-3

Realtors®, when acting solely as principals in a real estate transaction, are

not obligated to arbitrate disputes with other Realtors® absent a specific

written agreement to the contrary. (Adopted 1/96)

• Standard of Practice 17-4

Specific non-contractual disputes that are subject to arbitration pursuant

to Article 17 are:

1)  Where a listing broker has compensated a cooperating broker

and another cooperating broker subsequently claims to be the

procuring cause of the sale or lease. In such cases the complainant

may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration

may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent.

When arbitration occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers

and where the listing broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and

the amount of any potential resulting award is limited to the amount

paid to the respondent by the listing broker and any amount credited

or paid to a party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent.

Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the

listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party

respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as

to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or

subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the

underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)

2)  Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller

or landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a

result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and,

subsequent to such actions, another cooperating broker claims to be

the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases the complainant

may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration

may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent.

When arbitration occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers

and where the listing broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and

the amount of any potential resulting award is limited to the amount paid

to the respondent by the seller or landlord and any amount credited

or paid to a party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent.

Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the

listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party

respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as

to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or

subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the

underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)

3)  Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the buyer

or tenant and, as a result, the listing broker reduces the commission

owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions,

another cooperating broker claims to be the procuring cause of sale or

lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating

broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing

broker being named as a respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint

is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name

the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either

instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall

be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the

parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative

transaction. (Adopted 1/97)

4)  Where two or more listing brokers claim entitlement to compensation

pursuant to open listings with a seller or landlord who agrees to

participate in arbitration (or who requests arbitration) and who

agrees to be bound by the decision. In cases where one of the

listing brokers has been compensated by the seller or landlord, the

other listing broker, as complainant, may name the first listing broker

as respondent and arbitration may proceed between the brokers.

(Adopted 1/97)

5)  Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller

or landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a

result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and,

subsequent to such actions, claims to be the procuring cause of sale

or lease. In such cases arbitration shall be between the listing broker

and the buyer or tenant representative and the amount in dispute is

limited to the amount of the reduction of commission to which the listing

broker agreed. (Adopted 1/05)

• Standard of Practice 17-5

The obligation to arbitrate established in Article 17 includes disputes

between Realtors® (principals) in different states in instances where,

absent an established inter-association arbitration agreement, the

Realtor® (principal) requesting arbitration agrees to submit to the

jurisdiction of, travel to, participate in, and be bound by any resulting

award rendered in arbitration conducted by the respondent(s) Realtor®’s

association, in instances where the respondent(s) Realtor®’s association

determines that an arbitrable issue exists. (Adopted 1/07)

Explanatory Notes

The reader should be aware of the following policies which have been

approved by the Board of Directors of the National Association:

In filing a charge of an alleged violation of the Code of Ethics by a Realtor®,

the charge must read as an alleged violation of one or more Articles of

the Code. Standards of Practice may be cited in support of the charge.

The Standards of Practice serve to clarify the ethical obligations imposed

by the various Articles and supplement, and do not substitute for, the Case

Interpretations in Interpretations of the Code of Ethics.

Modifications to existing Standards of Practice and additional new

Standards of Practice are approved from time to time. Readers are

cautioned to ensure that the most recent publications are utilized.

 

© 2018 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® 166-288-18 (01/18 VG)