Ethics Complaint and Arbitration Request


Happy realtor woman giving key to a new owner of an apartment.


Code of Ethics / Professional Standards – A Commitment to the Public

The Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is the promise to the public that when dealing with a real estate agent that is a REALTOR®, they can expect honest and ethicial treatment in all transactions-related matters.  Only REALTORS® pledge to abide by the Association’s Code of Ethics and only REALTORS® are held accountable for their ethical behavior.

The Code of Ethics, which was first adopted on July 29, 1923, is a living document, responsive in its content to changes in law and industry.  The Code has been revised many times through the years to reflect current developments in professional real estate practice.  The term REALTOR® has come to represent competency, honesty, and high integrity.  These qualities stem from voluntary adherence to an ideal of moral conduct in real estate business practices.

But even with the best of intentions, planning, and preparation, occasional disagreements arise between REALTORS® and their clients and customers.  West Virginia Association of REALTORS® provides members and their clients and customers a vehicle to economically expedite ethics complaints and or arbitration requests without going to court.


To File a Complaint:

If you have a complaint:

First make sure the real estate agent is a registered National Association of Realtors REALTOR®.  Click here to conduct a REALTOR® search.

If so, please fill out the West Virginia Ethical Complaint Packet and submit to WVAR.


Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between an ethics complaint and arbitration request?
An ethics complain charges that a REALTOR® has violated an Article(s) of the Code of Ethics.
An arbitration request involves a dispute over entitlement to a monetary transaction.

Who can file an ethics complaint?
Any person, whether a member or not, having reason to believe that a member is in violation of any conduct subject to disciplinary action.

Are there certain Articles that can or can’t be cited?
Only Articles 1 through 17 may be basis of a complaint.  The Preamble is aspirational and establishes ideals that a REALTOR should strive to attain.  Because of its subjective nature, the Preamble may not be used as a basis for charges or alleged unethical conduct or as a basis for disciplinary action.

Can Standards of Practice be cited in an ethics complaint?
No.  Standards of Practice may be cited only in support of the Article(s) that was allegedly violated.

Are there issues or complaints that should not be brought before a board/association of REALTORS® ?
Yes.  A charge of violating the law or State real estate regulations is not a matter that would be considered by the board/association of REALTORS.  Also, the board/association is not a court of law where criminal or civil issues are resolved.

Source: West Virginia Association of REALTORS® via National Association of REALTORS®


Principles of the
Code of Ethics

Source:  National Association of REALTORS®

1. Protect and promote your client’s interest, but be honest with all parties.
2. Avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, and concealment of pertinent facts. Do not reveal facts that are confidential under the scope of your agency relationship.
3. Cooperate with other real estate professionals to advance your client’s best interest.
4. When buying or selling, make your position in the transaction or interest known.
5. Disclose present or contemplated interest in any property to all parties.
6. Avoid side deals without your client’s informed consent.
7. Accept compensation from only one party, except with full disclosure and informed consent.
8. Keep the funds of clients and customers in escrow.
9. Assure, whenever possible, the transactional details are in writing.
10. Provide equal service to all clients and customers.
11. Be knowledgeable and competent in the fields of practice in which you ordinarily engage. Obtain assistance or disclose lack of expertise if necessary.
12. Communicate honestly and present a true picture in your advertising, marketing, and other public representations.
13. Do not engage in the unauthorized practice of law.
14. Be a willing participant in Code enforcement procedures.
15. Ensure that your comments about other real estate professionals are truthful, and not misleading.
16. Respect the exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that the other REALTORS® have with their clients.
17. Arbitrate contractual and specific non-contractual disputes with other REALTORS® and with your clients.