Citation System

Background

In an ongoing effort to increase professionalism in the marketplace for our Membership, streamline the ethics hearing process and protect the interests of the general public, HBOR adopted the NAR Citation System for Code of Ethics violations.

HBOR’s Professional Standards and Grievance Committees are charged with upholding the highest principles of the Association and ensuring that Members adhere to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Over the years, Members have sought ways to avoid time consuming ethics complaint filings and hearings.

How the Citation System Works

Business conduct violating some articles in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics could be subject to a citation or fine. After a review by the Association’s Grievance Committee, the Association’s Citation Committee will decide whether the conduct in any ethics complaint received by the Association is subject to a citation/fine. If the Grievance Committee decides the conduct is a citable offense, the following will occur:

  • The violator will be notified (as will the violator’s broker) and he/she will have 20 days to pay the cited fine or request an ethics hearing.
  • Only three (3) citations may be issued to a violator within a three (3) year period; subsequent potential violations would be sent directly to an ethics hearing.
  • The fee structure is: $300 for the first citation, $600 for the second citation within a 12 month period. In addition to fine the violator will be required to take an additional Ethics Course for each offense.
  • The name of the violator and the article which was violated will be posted on the HBOR website for 12 months.
  • The Citation Committee reserves the right to send any complaint directly to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing.

Articles and Behavior Which May Be Citable

Article 1

  • Failure to fully disclose and obtain consent from both parties when representing both the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant in the same transaction.
  • Failure to submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible.
  • Failure to advise sellers/landlords of information specified in Standard of Practice 1-12 prior to entering into a listing contract.
  • Failure to advise buyers/tenants of information specified in Standard of Practice 1-13 prior to entering into a buyer/tenant agreement.
  • Accessing or using, or allowing others to access or use, a property managed or listed on terms other than those authorized by the owner or seller.

Article 3

  • Failure to communicate a change in compensation for cooperative services prior to the time that REALTOR submits an offer to purchase/lease the property.
  • As a listing broker, attempting to unilaterally modify the offered compensation with respect to a cooperative transaction after a REALTOR has submitted an offer to purchase or lease that property.
  • Failure to disclose existence of dual or variable rate commission arrangements.
  • Failure to disclose to cooperating brokers differential that would result in the dual or variable rate commission arrangement if sale/lease results through efforts of seller/landlord.
  • Failure to disclose existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to cooperating brokers.
  • Misrepresenting the availability of access to show or inspect a listed property.
  • Providing access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or listing Broker.

Article 4

  • Failure to disclose REALTOR’s ownership or other interest in writing to the purchaser or their representative.
  • Providing professional services without disclosing REALTOR’s present interest in the property.

Article 6

  • Accepting any commission, rebate or profit on expenditures without client’s knowledge or consent.
  • Failure to disclose to a client or customer REALTOR’s financial benefits or fees received as a direct result of recommending real estate products or services.
  • Failure to disclose REALTOR’s direct interest in an organization or business entity when recommending to a client or customer that they use the services of that organization or business entity.

Article 12

  • Failure to present a true picture in real estate communications and advertising.
  • Failure to disclose status as real estate profession in advertising and other representations.
  • Failure to provide all terms governing availability of a “free” product or service in an advertisement or other representation.
  • Failure to disclose potential to obtain a benefit from 3rd party when REALTOR represents their services as free or without cost.
  • Failure to exercise care and candor when communicating the terms and conditions of premiums, prizes, merchandise discounts or other inducements to list, sell, purchase or lease.
  • Advertising property for sale/lease without authority of owner or listing broker.
  • Failure to disclose name of firm in advertisement for listed property.
  • Failure to disclose status as both owner/landlord and REALTOR or licensee when advertising property in which REALTOR has ownership interest.
  • Falsely claiming to have “sold” property.
  • Failure to take corrective action when it becomes apparent that information on a REALTOR’s website is no longer current or accurate.
  • Failure to disclose firm name and state of licensure on REALTOR firm website.
  • Misleading consumers through deceptive framing, manipulating content, deceptively diverting internet traffic, or presenting other’s content without attribution or permission.
  • Registering or using of deceptive URL or domain name.
  • Representing that the REALTOR has a designation, certification, or other credential they are not entitle to use.

Article 14

  • Failure to cooperate in any professional standards proceeding or investigation

Article 16

  • Conditioning submission of a buyer’s offer on additional compensation from a listing broker.
  • Placing for sale/lease sign on property without permission of seller/landlord.

How To File

  • Complete, sign and date the Ethics Complaint Form, which you may download and print from this website. (Ethics complaints must be filed with the Association within 180 days of the time the complainant knew– or reasonably should have known—that potentially unethical conduct took place).
  • Include the Article(s) of the Code of Ethics believed violated. The articles are illustrated through Standards of Practice, but the Standard of Practice may only be used as support for the Article(s) being charged. The Article number(s) must be cited.
  • Include a narrative description of the circumstances and facts surrounding the complaint, being as specific as possible.
  • Attach copies of all relevant documents such as listing and sales contracts, letters etc.

Questions? E-mail Megan Meyer Foos or call her at 419-535-3222.