Professional Standards

 

Ethics Complaint Process

The Code of Ethics was adopted by the National Association of REALTORS® in 1913 and has been amended throughout the years to accommodate the ever-changing industry.  The local board professional standards review process is one of the most important benefits of REALTOR® membership.  Those who pledge to uphold the Code, depend on the association to enforce the Code and educate Board members of their obligations of REALTOR® membership.

The Punta Gorda - Port Charlotte - North Port Association of REALTORS® Inc. Professional Standards Committee hears complaints against its REALTOR® members based on the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®. In order for a complaint to be forwarded to a hearing, the complaint must be in writing, must be filed within 180 days after the facts described in the complaint could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, must allege violations of specific Articles of the Code of Ethics and must state the facts supporting the allegations.

The procedure for filing a complaint with the Punta Gorda - Port Charlotte - North Port Association of REALTORS® Inc. has 3 basic steps.

 

Step One:

Read the Code of Ethics. As you read, make notes as to which Article(s) of the Code you believe have been violated by the REALTOR®. Please note the actual Article(s) you feel have been violated as well as the Standards of Practice.

 

Step Two:

If, after reading the Code of Ethics, you believe that one or more Articles have been violated, contact Mary Tombs at mtombs@pgpcnprealtors.com to have the paperwork sent to you (by e-mail or postal mail) for processing your complaint. You will receive a copy of the Code of Ethics, a "Before you File an Ethics Complaint" form and the Punta Gorda - Port Charlotte - North Port Association of REALTORS® Inc. Ethics Complaint Form , which will need to be completed and returned to the Board office.  You will need to be as specific as possible, listing the actions or inactions by the REALTOR® that you believe were wrong.  Cite the appropriate Article or Articles of the Code of Ethics related to each action or inaction described in the complaint.  Copies of supporting documentation will also be needed.

 

Step Three:

Your appearance at a hearing of the Professional Standards Committee will be required (unless the individual against whom the complaint is filed waives the right to appear before a panel and does not dispute the allegations as stated in the complaint). This will be your opportunity to address members of the Professional Standards Committee with your complaint. The REALTOR® whom your complaint is against will also be required to attend the hearing and explain or defend his/her actions.

The Board can administer discipline to a REALTOR® found to be in violation of the Code of Ethics as follows:

  • Send a letter of warning or reprimand to the member, with a copy placed in the member’s personal file.
  • Direct the member to attend an ethics class or other training appropriate to the violation.
  • Fine the member up to $15,000.
  • Place the member on probation (with regard to membership).
  • Suspend the member from Board membership or MLS access.
  • Expel the member from Board membership or MLS access.

The Punta Gorda - Port Charlotte - North Port Association of REALTORS® Inc. has legal limits on its authority.  We cannot conduct a hearing to determine violations of law, nor can it enforce contracts or award monetary damages to an injured party in a case.  These powers are reserved to the courts and/or state licensing authority.  We also do not have the power to revoke an individual’s real estate license.  This power falls under the authority of the Florida Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing.

If you are experiencing a problem with a REALTOR® that is legal in nature or if it pertains to the interpretation of a contract, we suggest you contact an attorney to learn your legal options.

Our Association strives to promote professionalism among its members. When a member does not abide by the Code of Ethics, it affects the entire REALTOR® organization. If you have any questions regarding the jurisdiction of the Board or the complaint process, please contact Mary Tombs at mtombs@pgpcnprealtors.com or at (941) 629-8943.