Trained REALTOR® Ombudsmen help to identify and clear up any miscommunication between a party and their agent, explain customary Florida real estate business practices, and discuss available options without judgment.
Ombudsmen do not determine whether ethic violations have occurred, rather they anticipate, identify and resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into disputes and possible charges of unethical conduct.
Ombudsmen can field and respond to a wide variety of inquiries and complaints, including general questions about real estate practice, transaction details, ethical practice and enforcement issues. They can also receive and respond to questions and complaints about members, may contact members to inform them that a client or customer has raised a question or issue and can contact members to obtain information necessary to provide an informed response.
REALTORS® everywhere have pledged to meet the Code’s high professional standards upon becoming members of the Association. Even with the best of intentions, planning and preparation, occasional disagreements arise between REALTORS® and/or REALTORS® clients. To preserve the integrity of our industry any violations of the Code of Ethics or MLS Rules by one of our members should be reported to the Association. Complaints can be filed by any person, whether a member or not, having reason to believe that a member is in violation of any conduct subject to disciplinary action.
CPAR’s Grievance and Professional Standards Committees are charged with upholding the highest principles of the Association and ensuring that members adhere to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The professional standards process for ethics hearings can take up to six months to be completed from the time the complaint is filed. The purpose of the Citation Program is to provide a faster resolution to the complaint process.
Arbitration is a means of resolving disputes, generally involving commissions and compensation, which arise out of business relationships between Brokers. A non-principal (REALTOR® that is not a Broker) cannot file an arbitration request, although their name may be joined on the request and may attend and participate in the arbitration.
Is there a statute of limitations for filing ethics complaints?
Yes. The limit is 180 days from the time that you could have known there was a dispute
How do I know whether to file an ethics complaint or request arbitration?
Ethics complaints are filed about behavior; arbitration is requested when there is a commission dispute.
Can I file an arbitration request and an ethics complaint at the same time?
Yes. Both case types can be filed at the same time. If the cases go to hearing, arbitration hearings are held first.
Do I name the Article or Standard of Practice in my complaint?
Ethics complaints should be filed based on the Articles of the Code of Ethics and can be supported by a Standard of Practice.
Where do I file the ethics complaint?
Ethics complaints are filed with the Association where the responding party holds membership. Complaints against CPAR members should be filed at CPAR.
How long does the process take?
If ethics complaints go to hearing, the process may take 2-3 months. This is because of the time that must be allowed for responses, proper notification, scheduling, etc.
What happens if someone is found in violation of an Article of the Code of Ethics?
If the hearing panel finds that a member is in violation of the Code of Ethics, they have the authority to recommend that the Board of Directors impose disciplinary sanctions such as the completion of an education class on a given topic, fines, letters of warning and reprimand, suspension, or termination of membership.