NAR Board OKs Stepped-up Ethics Enforcement, Dues Increase

The NAR Board of Directors at its meeting in Washington May 19 took a major step toward increasing professionalism in real estate by giving associations new teeth for enforcing Code of Ethics violations, and it also positioned REALTORS® for the future by adopting the association’s first dues increase in eight years.

Under changes to Sections 23(j) and (n) of the NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual, local associations that choose to adopt the policy can publicize the names of members and the nature of their violations after a second violation of the Code of Ethics. They can also release a photograph of the member as part of that public disclosure.

“This is a huge shift that members have been asking for,” said Colin Mullane, broker-owner of Full Circle Real Estate in Ashland, Ore. Mullane is an NAR regional vice president. “Up to this point we’ve been reluctant to point the finger at people who really violate the Code of Ethics. Now there are real consequences if you’re a repeat offender.”

The stepped-up enforcement option is based on a pilot program of the California Association of REALTORS®.

In another big change, to Standard of Practice 1-7, a listing broker or agent is required to respond in writing that an offer was submitted to the seller if the cooperating broker who submitted the offer so requests. The listing broker or agent must respond in the affirmative unless the seller has provided written notification waiving the obligation to have the offer presented.

“There’s been real frustration by a lot of brokers, especially in busy markets, that they’re not sure if their offers were even looked at,” said Mullane. “That kind of thing breaks down the spirit of cooperation. This is a way to restore that.”

Another change, to Section 13(d) of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual, clarifies the rights and role of REALTOR® principals in an ethics hearing.

“We have heard from members about strengthening professionalism, and today we took an important step forward,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “The changes will bring invaluable benefit to consumers and allow Realtors® to serve them to the best of our abilities.”

S.M.A.R.T. Budget approved

In a major move to keep REALTORS® positioned for success into the future while ensuring NAR no longer needs to use reserves to cover expenses, the board approved a budget that sets national association dues at $150 per year per member beginning in 2019.

That’s a $30 increase. Seventeen dollars of the increase is for REALTOR® Party advocacy programming. The remaining $13 will fund programs such as the new Commitment to Excellence professionalism initiative, the popular forms and transaction management benefit, and upkeep of the association’s buildings.

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