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Ethics and Standards

Code of Ethics

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is a detailed document that spells out the professional responsibilities of every REALTOR®.  The Code of Ethics ensures that consumers are served by requiring REALTORS® to cooperate with each other in furthering clients' best interests.  CLICK HERE to view the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. 

Dispute Resolution

REALTORS® voluntarily agree to abide by the Code of Ethics, and therefore, are subject to disciplinary action and sanctions if they violate the duties imposed by Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.  Even REALTORS® who are committed to high standards of conduct occasionally have honest business disputes with other professionals, clients or customers.  If you have a complaint, follow the steps to resolution below.  (information extracted from the National Association of REALTORS®)

Ombudsman Program - Informal Mediation

The Ombudsman Program in its simplest definition is informal telephone mediation. In some cases it can address and solve minor complaints from the public. It can also solve inter-REALTOR® conflicts before they become serious problems. Like a mediator, an ombudsman helps parties find solutions.

The following types of cases can be handled through the Ombudsman Process:

  • Uncomplicated
  • Communication based
  • Non or small monetary amount
  • May be solved by providing simple education
  • May be solved by providing basic knowledge
  • Apparent violations of law
  • Fair housing or discrimination issues

Those already referred to legal counsel, a subject of a North Carolina Real Estate Commission investigation, a REALTOR® vs. REALTOR® arbitration which shall be handled by the association’s mediator.

The following types of cases cannot be handled through the Ombudsman Process:

  • Large monetary amounts
  • Complex cases
  • Cases involving more than two parties
  • Blatantly unreasonable or uncooperative parties

Arbitration for Monetary Disputes

Form #A-1 (Word doc)

Before filing, please read: Before You File an Ethics Complaint

Form E-1

Code of Ethics

Mediation Services - Facilitated Negotiation

Mediation is a form of facilitated negotiation in which an impartial third party attempts to help disputing parties reach a mutually-satisfactory solution to their problems. FRANC has trained mediator volunteers to help resolve conflicts.   

There are numerous benefits to choosing mediation. Since the mediation process is collaborative, not adversarial, it can help resolve issues while preserving positive relationships between all parties. Additionally, mediation often takes far less time and money than formal litigation.

The goal of a successful mediation is to have both parties come to a mutual agreement in writing upon the mediation's conclusion. Once the agreement is signed, parties are legally bound to abide by its terms.

To access our Mediation services, contact FRANC staff.

When there are monetary disputes between REALTORS® arising out of their relationship as REALTORS®, the Association provides Arbitration to settle the dispute. If the REALTORS® are from different firms, the Arbitration process is a mandatory requirement of membership.

A majority of arbitration requests are to determine the procuring cause of a sale or lease although the process can also be used to determine the amount of a commission when there is no dispute over procuring cause. Procuring Cause is defined as the uninterrupted series of events that leads to a successful transaction. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: A request for arbitration must be filed within 180 days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within 180 days after the facts constituting the matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later.  Arbitration disputes can only be filed by a Broker Principal (a non-principal cannot file for arbitration).

Form #A-1 - Request and Agreement to Arbitrate must be completed and submitted to the FRANC office along with all supporting documentation and a company check for the Arbitration filing fee.

Form #A-1 (pdf format)

After an Arbitration Request is filed, Mediation is offered to both parties.  Should both parties agree to mediate and the mediation is successful, the Arbitration filing fee is refunded.

For detailed information about the role of the Grievance Committee and Professional Standards Committee after submitting your complaint, review NAR's Code of Ethics governing documents.   

Filing a complaint about a behavior or ethics violation (not involving money)

Complaints about violations of the Code of Ethics must cite the Article(s) of the Code perceived to be violated using Ethics Complaint Form E-1. Complaints should include a supporting document in the form of a narrative or chronological summary of the events that occurred. 

Ready to file an Ethics Complaint? 

If you have any questions about the process for filing an ethics or arbitration complaint, send an email to staff at

Foothills REALTOR® Association of North Carolina     I     PO Box 389     I     Rutherfordton, NC  28139     I     828-516-3008     I     Email Us

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