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CONTACTS
PVPAR
Professional Standards

Melissa Klassen
melissa@pvpar.com
Marla Virgin
marla@pvpar.com
310-377-4873
310-541-4704 (fax)

California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.)
Ethics Information for Consumers
http://www.car.org/aboutus/forconsumers/ethics/


MEDIATION SERVICES
Kathy Kelly
310-326-3010, ext 714
310-326-5579 (fax)

C.A.R. Mediation Center for Consumers
www.consumermediation.org
213-739-8376 (voicemail)
Email: Mediation@car.org

Arbitration and Mediation Services Recommended by C.A.R.:
American Arbitration Association
800-778-7879
www.adr.org

Judicial, Arbitration, and Mediation Service (JAMS)
800-352-5267
www.jamsadr.com


OTHER INFORMATIONAL SITES
California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE)
www.bre.ca.gov
CalBRE Public Information Line
877-373-4542

C.A.R. REALTOR® Legal Hotline
213-739-8282 (REALTORS® Only)
(Mon-Fri 9:00am-6:00pm)
(Sat 10am-2pm (1st come 1st serve basis & limited to active transaction questions only.)

National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
Main Number: 800-874-6500
www.realtor.org/about-nar/nar-at-a-glance

Ethics Complaints
Mediation
Arbitration

ETHICS COMPLAINTS

Boards and associations of REALTORS® are responsible for enforcing the REALTORS® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics imposes duties above and in addition to those imposed by law or regulation which apply only to real estate professionals who choose to become REALTORS®.

Many difficulties between real estate professionals (whether REALTORS® or not) result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication. If you have a problem with a real estate professional, you may want to speak with them or with a principal broker in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.

If, after discussing matters with your real estate professional or a principal broker in that firm, you are still not satisfied, you may want to contact the local board or association of REALTORS®. In addition to processing formal ethics complaints against its REALTOR® members, many boards and associations offer informal dispute resolving processes (e.g., ombudsmen, mediation, etc.). Often, parties are more satisfied with informal dispute resolution processes, as they are quicker, less costly, and often help repair damaged relationships.

If, after taking these steps, you still feel you have a grievance, you may want to consider filing an ethics complaint. You will want to keep in mind that...

  • Only REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®s are subject to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®.
  • If the real estate professional (or their broker) you are dealing with is not a REALTOR®, your only recourse may be the state real state licensing authority or the courts.
  • Boards and associations of REALTORS® determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, not whether the law or real estate regulations have been broken. Those decisions can only be made by the licensing authorities or the courts.
  • Boards of REALTORS® can discipline REALTORS® for violating the Code of Ethics. Typical forms of discipline include attendance at courses and seminars designed to increase REALTORS®' understanding of the ethical duties or other responsibilities of real estate professionals. Additional examples of authorized discipline are a letter of reprimand and appropriate fines. For serious or repeated violations, a REALTOR®'s membership can be suspended or terminated. Boards and associations of REALTORS® cannot require REALTORS® to pay money to parties filing ethics complaints; cannot award "punitive damages" for violations of the Code of Ethics; and cannot suspend or revoke a real estate professional's license.
  • The primary emphasis of discipline for ethical lapses is educational, to create a heightened awareness of and appreciation for the duties the Code imposes. At the same time, more severe forms of discipline, including fines and suspension and termination of membership may be imposed for serious or repeated violations.
Please Review Before you File: Other Reference Documents: To File:
  • Complete Form: D1 - Disciplinary Complaint Form (Ethics Complaint)) and sign the last page.
  • Include a narrative description of the circumstances and facts surrounding the complaint, being as specific as possible.
  • Attach copies of all relevant documents such as listings and sales contracts, letters, etc. labeling these as Exhibit 1, etc.
  • There are no fees for filing an Ethics complaint.
  • Forward the complaint to the PVPAR Professional Standards Coordinator of the Association, Melissa Klassen, by either:
    • Email: melissa@pvpar.com,
    • Fax: 310-541-4704, or
    • Mail:
      Palos Verdes Peninsula Association of REALTORS® (PVPAR)
      28441 Highridge Road, Suite 401
      Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
What to expect next:
  • Upon receipt, the Complaint will be forwarded to the Grievance Committee and reviewed to determine whether the Complaint should move forward to a Hearing.
  • If the Grievance Committee determines that the Complaint has stated facts that as alleged, if true, could constitute a violation of one or more Articles of the Code of Ethics, then the Committee will recommend that Complaint should move forward to a Hearing.
  • You will be notified of the outcome by mail.

MEDIATION

Unresolved disputes regarding monetary issues can be successfully resolved by utilizing either Mediation and/or Arbitration. As an alternative to Arbitration, the Association has Mediation services which is a dispute resolution process whereby a mediator works with you and the other parties to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution through normal communication and negotiation. In comparison to arbitration, mediation is usually less adversarial and less formal and the parties are more directly involved in the decision making process to resolve their dispute.

PVPAR has two (2) avenues for Mediations services:
  1. In cooperation with our Regional 'sister' Association, the South Bay Association of REALTORS® (SBAOR) has agreed to assist in the Mediation process for PVPAR members in regards to commission disputes. Please note: At their discretion, SBAOR has all rights to charge and/or refuse mediation services to PVPAR members. For more information regarding Mediation Services available to PVPAR members, contact the SBAOR Mediation Coordinator, Kathy Kelly at 310-326-3010, x714 or email their Professional Standards Coordinator, Nikki Vasquez at Nikki@SouthBayAOR.com.

  2. The C.A.R. Real Estate Mediation Center for Consumers is available to help members and their clients quickly settle disputes without the time, cost and uncertainty of litigation. For more information please access the C.A.R. Mediation Center for Consumers.

ARBITRATION

Most real estate transactions proceed peacefully; minor disputes between the parties usually can be worked out with a little negotiation and compromise. However, consumers and REALTORS® sometimes find themselves confronted with disputes that they are unable to resolve by themselves.

Arbitration is the term used to describe a form of dispute resolution that occurs outside of the court system. Basically, in arbitration the parties submit arguments and evidence to a neutral person, known as an arbitrator, who then renders a decision (which is called an "award"). Arbitration may be used to decide most types of claims, including actions for breach of contract, misrepresentation and fraud. The arbitration agreement in C.A.R. contracts, however, excludes certain matters from arbitration, including matters within the jurisdiction of a small claims, probate or bankruptcy court. Arbitration is the term used to describe a form of dispute resolution that occurs outside of the court system.

REALTORS® agree, as a condition of membership, to arbitrate contractual disputes and specific non-contractual disputes as provided for in Article 17 of the NAR Code of Ethics. (See Mediation as an alternative to Arbitration.)

To File an Arbitration, download the appropriate Arbitration Complaint Form by choosing from the following list:

Forms for Members of the Public: Forms for REALTOR® Members: Other Reference Documents:
STEPS TO FILING AN ARBITRATION:

Fill out the Arbitration Complaint Form and sign the last page.
  • Include a narrative description (typewritten) of the circumstances that lead you to file for Arbitration and be as specific as possible.
  • Attach copies of all relevant documents such as listings and sales contracts, copies of disclosures, MLS printouts, copies of email correspondence, letters, etc.
  • Attach a filing fee in the amount of $400.00 made out to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Association of REALTOR® (PVPAR).
    • Filing fee is NON-refundable.
  • Forward the Arbitration paperwork and filing fee to:
    Palos Verdes Peninsula Association of REALTORS® (PVPAR)
    Attention: Melissa Klassen - Professional Standards Administrator
    28441 Highridge Road, Suite 401
    Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
What to expect next:
  • Once all necessary information is received by PVPAR, a copy will be forwarded to the Respondent(s) requesting a reply.
  • Upon receipt of the reply from the Respondent(s), a copy will be forwarded to you.
  • All parties will be notified by mail and/or email once a hearing date and panel have been chosen.