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Low-cost mediation and arbitration of disputes between REALTOR® members and their clients are conducted by the Professional Standards Committee. To file a complaint, please click on the below subject that applies to your situation. For more information please contact our Professional Standards Department at 408.445.5099.

Ombudsman

Occasionally, REALTORS® find themselves embroiled in a dispute with their client or another REALTOR®. The SCCAOR Ombudsmen receive and respond to questions and complaints about members; can contact members to inform them that a client customer or other REALTOR® has raised a question or issue; and can contact members to obtain information necessary to provide an informed response to the person complaining.

The Ombudsman’s role is primarily one of communication and conciliation, not adjudication. Ombudsmen do not determine whether ethics violations have occurred, rather they anticipate, identify, and resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into possible charges of unethical conduct.

If you wish the assistance of a SCCAOR Ombudsman, you may call 408 445-5099 or email Christine@SCCAOR.com (prostnds@sccaor.com).

Click here for the “Code of Ethics Dispute Resolution” flyer

How to File an Ethics Complaint

SCCAOR can’t investigate an issue so we rely on you to submit grievance complaints. When a complaint is filed with the Association, it is first reviewed by the Grievance Committee, a group comprised of trained experienced REALTOR® volunteers. The Grievance Committee’s primary function is to determine whether or not a disciplinary complaint is appropriate for a hearing. If the Grievance Committee determines that a complaint warrants a hearing, then it is referred to the Professional Standards Committee, also a group comprised of trained experienced Realtor® volunteers. A hearing panel will be assembled out of this committee and they will determine if there has been a violation of the Code of Ethics or not and will recommend the appropriate discipline. If you need assistance with completing your complaint, complete and return to prostnds@sccaor.com the 3 Ethics Advocate forms.

Read this before filing an ethic complaint

Click to print complaint forms and instructions

Ethics Advocate Forms

Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual

How to File for Mediation

SCCAOR has made mediation available to its members and their clients as an alternative method of resolving monetary disputes. Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process designed to assist members of SCCAOR and their clients to settle disputes swiftly and informally.

Mediation is a non-adversarial confidential process that brings disputing parties together with a neutral, unbiased third party (mediator) who assists the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable settlement of the dispute. The mediator does not make decisions or impose sanctions. Settlement terms are reached and agreed to by the parties during the mediation and become binding only when and if the parties sign a written settlement agreement.

To file for mediation click on applicable link below:

What is Mediation

How to File for Mediation

Glossary of Terms

How to File for Arbitration

When a monetary dispute arises between REALTOR® members and is brought before the association, arbitration is mandatory, but the parties may choose whether to try mediation first.

Final Decision
In an arbitration hearing, the decision handed down by the Arbitration Panel is final and binding by law, as well as by the bylaws of the Association. The failure of a party to abide by the arbitration decision can be enforced by the court.

Arbitration Procedures

Arbitration Complaint Forms – REALTOR® VS. REALTOR®

California Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual

Procuring Cause Guidelines

Right to Counsel; Ethics Advocate

Any party may be represented by legal counsel or by a REALTOR® (or both) at any ethics hearing, including reviews, even where the hearing will occur in the party’s absence. SCCAOR has adopted the Ethics Advocate (EA) program, a sub-committee of the Professional Standards Committee of REALTORS® is specially trained to represent parties during the disciplinary process. The role of legal counsel or EA may include preparation for hearing, including the preparation of forms and assembly of evidence, representation at the hearing, including the making of opening and closing statements on behalf of the party represented at the hearing, examining and cross examining witnesses, and introducing affidavits, documents and other relevant evidence, and representation at any review hearings, but does not include testifying as a witness. In the event the parties do not give fifteen (15) days’ notice of their intention to have legal counsel or EA representation to the Association and all other parties, the hearing may be continued, and the party giving late notice may be assessed a continuance fee. An Association is not required to provide an EA for a party if the Association has not adopted the EA program. Where an ethics hearing takes place in a respondent’s absence, the respondent is still entitled to be represented by counsel at the hearing.

REALTOR Code of Ethics

While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and the law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.  Select REALTOR® Code of Ethics file to view from the applicable links below:

Code of Ethics-English

The Code of Ethics – Demystified!

Code of Ethics Audio Clips
Listen to audio clips for each Article (not including the Standards of Practice) read by Stephen Gasque from Real Estate Today Radio.

C.A.R. Legal Hotline

SCCAOR provides services to help protect your clients, yourself and your commissions through CAR Legal Services and Risk Management programs. Services include the free Legal Hotline, Legal Q & A’s on-line and standard forms.

Main number (213) 739-8282
Broker & Office Managers (213) 739-8350

Have your NRDS number ready before calling the CAR Legal Hotline.

Hours of operation:
Mon – Fri 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sat 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m

Office of the District Attorney

Office of the District Attorney
Real Estate Fraud Unit
70 West Hedding Street, West Wing
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone 408 808-3787 Fax 408 279-8742

Click here for Tips and Resources for Homeowners to Protect Yourself From Real Estate Fraud