All REALTORS® adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public.
The Code of Ethics is a promise to the public that when dealing with a real estate agent who is a REALTOR®, they can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. All REALTORS® are required to take a minimum of two and a half hours orientation on the Code of Ethics.
Existing members must take a refresher course every four years, known as the Quadrennial Ethics Training.
Only REALTORS® pledge to abide by the Code of Ethics, and only REALTORS® are held accountable for their ethical behavior.
Some of the basic principles of the Code of Ethics include:
- Protect and promote your client's interest, and be honest with all parties.
- REALTORS® shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public.
- Assure, whenever possible, that transactional details are in writing.
Check out more Code of Ethics and Professional Standards resources from the National Association of REALTORS®.
Originally developed by the Professional Conduct Work Group in 1998, the "Pathways to Professionalism" was updated and approved by the NAR Board of Directors at the 2004 Annual Conference and Expo.
While the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association establishes objective, enforceable ethical standards governing the professional conduct of REALTORS, it does not address issues of courtesy or etiquette. Based on input from many sources, the Professional Conduct Working Group of the Professional Standards Committee developed the following list of professional courtesies for use by REALTORS on a voluntary basis. This list is not all-inclusive, and may be supplemented by local custom and practice.
Abiding by the Code is what sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate agents.
If you believe you have grounds to file an ethics complaint, please follow these three steps.
If you have a complaint concerning a real estate licensee, the first thing that must be determined is whether the real estate licensee involved is a REALTOR®. Not all real estate licensees are REALTORS®. Because REALTORS® are obligated to abide by the Code of Ethics, you can file a complaint of unethical behavior with the Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS® (GBRAR). To determine if a licensee is a REALTOR® and a member of GBRAR, you may search for them online, email our Ethics Department or call 225-761-2000.
Your complaint will be processed through GBRAR's Grievance Committee. The Committee determines whether the complaint has sufficient merit for further consideration. It does not determine guilt or innocence. The Committee will either:
- Forward the case for a hearing;
- Dismiss it, if the complaint does not concern a possible violation of the Code of Ethics; or
- Postpone its decision based on getting more information before a determination can be made.
If the Committee dismisses your complaint, you have the right to appeal the dismissal to GBRAR's Board of Directors. In the case of an appeal, the Directors re-examine the materials submitted to the Grievance Committee and can either uphold or overturn the Grievance Committee's decision.
If the complaint is to be given further consideration, it will be sent to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing.
The Professional Standards Committee will hold a hearing. These hearings provide an opportunity for the Complainant and the Respondent to explain "their side of the story" by presenting testimony and witnesses, if any.
All parties, including the individual(s) filing the complaint, will attend the hearing and present their case to the hearing panel.
If your case is forwarded on to a hearing:
The respondent will be notified and a reply requested;
All parties will be sent a list of Professional Standards Committee members, along with a form to challenge any of the members serving on the hearing panel;
All parties will be given 21 days notice of the hearing date;
An Outline of Procedures will be included in material you receive prior to the hearing.
Once all the facts have been presented, a Hearing Panel, consisting of members chosen on the basis of their experience, temperament, and objectivity, will determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated.
If it is determined that a violation of the Code of Ethics has occurred, the panel may, but is not limited to, administering discipline to the REALTOR® in one or more of the following ways:
Send a letter of warning or reprimand
Direct the REALTOR® to attend an ethics class or other training appropriate to the violation.
Place the REALTOR® on probation
Suspend the REALTOR'S® membership
Expel the REALTOR® from membership
Fine the REALTOR® up to $15,000 (paid to GBRAR)
GBRAR cannot try a REALTOR® member for violations of the Louisiana real estate license law or any other alleged violation of the law. It has jurisdiction only over violations of membership duties.
The Louisiana Real Estate Commission has jurisdictions over real estate licenses and should be contacted for violations of law at 225-761-0191.