A realtor’s license is a precious thing. It allows a realtor to practice his or her career. When there is a complaint on a realtor’s license it can be very worrisome. It’s best to know what a complaint involves so a realtor can at least be aware of circumstances and how things will proceed.
What Constitutes a Complaint on a Realtor?
A complaint usually means a client or another agent is accusing a realtor of violating the Code of Ethics in some way. Agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors must abide by this code and maintain ethical business practice in all ways. Realtors voluntarily agree to adhere to the Code of Ethics.
Besides serious offenses such as fraud, theft or embezzlement, here are some examples of violations of the Code of Ethics:
- Deliberately misleading the owner of the property in regard to the property’s market value.
- Lying deliberately to a buyer about the condition of a property.
- Misleading buyers as to the savings or benefits they might get through the realtor’s services.
- Revealing confidential information of clients.
- Misrepresenting the pertinent facts relating to the property or transaction.
At times a real estate agent may feel a complaint is a minor matter, but it can affect the realtor’s livelihood if not handled properly.
When misconduct occurs and someone files a complaint, it falls under the Code of Ethics. From here, the complainant is told to read the code to see if the problem fits under one of the categories mentioned above. Sometimes the difficulty is simply a breakdown in communication, and the agent should make an effort to re-establish communication. This may help in clearing up any misunderstanding.
The client who makes the complaint should also be encouraged to schedule a meeting with the managing broker of the agent. It’s ideal if the agent can attend the meeting as well. Things can be resolved much faster if both sides of the story are available to the broker. Each person can respond if errors exist in the other’s side of the story.
Mediation is also an excellent way to resolve matters. The Attorney General’s Office and the Arizona Association of Realtors are available to provide mediation.
Investigative Process for Complaints on a Realtor
The Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE) will conduct the investigation on a realtor. However, they do not investigate violations of the Code of Ethics, landlord disputes and other such matters. Their concern is if there were violations of real estate laws.
Once there is a complaint on a realtor’s license has been filed, they ensure that all documentation is correctly done. This includes a clear statement of the facts, what occurred that is suspected of being illegal, who was involved or present, etc.
If it is determined by the Department that a real estate law was violated or the Commissioner’s Rules, there are a number of actions that may be taken. These include:
- A civil penalty
- Letter of Concern
- Negotiate a settlement by means of a Consent
- Refer the case to the Attorney General for a hearing
- Suspension of license
- Revocation of license
- Surrender of license
How an Attorney Can Help
Learn more about how an attorney can help with the ADRE and the services Chelle Law provides.