FUNCTION OF THE PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS COMMITTEE OF A BOARD/ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
The purpose of the Professional Standards Committee of a Board/Association of REALTORS® is to promote the Code of Ethics, to educate the members about the Code and its obligations, and to enforce the Code as necessary.
Enforcing the Code Of Ethics
Each member board/association is mandated by Article IV, Sections 1 and 2, of the NAR Bylaws to adopt the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and to enforce it.
The NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual, Section 16, contains language recommended to be prt of the bylaws used by every board/association:
- "There shall be a Professional Standards Committee of at least ______board/association members, in good standing, of whom at least a majority shall be REALTORS®, appointed by the president, subject to confirmaiton by the Board of Directors. Members of the Professional Standards Committee shall be selected to serve on hearing panels as required to hear matters of alleged ethical misconduct by board/association members or to provide arbitration as requested. The committee shall annually select its own chairman and vice chairman of the committee."
Note: The president should make sure that appointments to the Professional Standards Committee are carefully evaluated as to real estate experience, board/association service, judicial temperament, and competence.
Boards/Association with large memberships should appoint larger committees to avoid an overload of work on a few members.
If Unable to Provide Impartial Hearing Panel
If the board/association's Professional Standards Committee is unable to name a hearing panel of knowledgeable peers, the committee may elect to recommend to the Board of Directors that the matter be referred to the State association for hearing. A local Board, prior to referring a matter to the State Association, should exhaust all efforts to impanel an impartial tribunal. These efforts may include the appointment of knowledgeable members of the Board on an ad hoc basis to serve as panel members.
An Inspirational and Motivational Function
Survey after survey conducted by NAR reveals that association members ascribe a high degree of importance to the Code of Ethics and its enforcement. Given this evaluation, it follows that leadership should give careful and diligent attention to promoting awareness and understanding of the Code of Ethics, and ensuring its appropriate enforcement.
At the local level, the president should make sure that his/her leadership interest in the Code and its enforcement is evident by (1) his/her appointments to the Professional Standards Committee, and (2) by support of the committee and its programs for promoting and enforcing the Code.
The chair and members of the Professional Standards Committee should strive to ensure that its program is active and effective for educating members about the meaning and application of the Code and about the board/association's absolute obligation to enforce the Code in its jurisdiction.
The Professional Standards Committee should strive to project and promote the concept of all REALTORS® and REALTOR ASSOCIATES® having a social responsibility and a duty to conduct themselves in accordance with the high standards of conduct established by the Articles of the Code and its interpretations.
Responsibility For Ethics Training Of Board/Association Members
Beyond providing a vision of ethical commitment of members to the high standards of conduct established by the Code of Ethics, the Professional Standards Committee has an obligation to train board/association members on the Code, its meaning, and application in real estate practice.
This is especially important in that most boards/associations have an ongoing influx of new members who need to be introduced to the Code and taught its applications to real estate practices.
Further, all members need review and reminder of the obligations of the Code of Ethics, because there are ongoing changes in the Articles of the Code and its interpretations.
Responsibility For Enforcing The Code Of Ethics
The Professional Standards Committee is ultimately obligated to make sure the Code of Ethics is enforced. The Grievance Committee receives, evalutes, and screens frivolous or unsubstantiated complaints or requests for further consideration. The Grievance Committee forwards for hearing all appropriate ethics complaints or arbitration requests.
The work of the Professional Standards Committee begins at this point. It must consider such requests carefully, with an everpresent concern for providing due process to all parties, educating offenders, and vindicating the Code of Ethics. These practices encourage high standards of professional conduct by REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATES®