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Realtor Code of Ethics Substantive and Procedural Changes

Aug 1, 2016

Standards and Ethics

Realtors® know that the Code of Ethics is a dynamic set of rules that adapts to the marketplace and its current issues. This has never been more evident than in the 2011 Code revisions. In addition to NAR’s fairly radical amendments to Article 10, NVAR has also made some internal changes, instituting an optional shortened complaint filing process.


This year NAR updated Article 10, the article that addresses discrimination, to add sexual orientation as a protected class. Article 10 previously protected the public from discrimination by Realtors® on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. The addition of sexual orientation will modify practices in Virginia, where, on a state-wide level, sexual orientation has not been a protected class. Please note that the article covers discrimination in your real estate business and in your employment practices.

NAR also clarified Article 3. This Article obligates Realtors® to cooperate with other brokers to promote their clients’ interests. A new Standard of Practice 3-10 explains that the duty to cooperate includes a duty to share information about a listed property and to make a property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers. In addition, Standard of Practice 3-7 was clarified, substituting "relationship with the client" for "representational status." This acknowledges that a Realtor® performing an appraisal may be seeking information about a property, yet not actually be "representing" a buyer or seller.

In the last few years, NAR has focused its attention on ensuring that the Code of Ethics stays relevant in light of the new marketing tools that become available to Realtors®. Prior to amendment, Standard of Practice 12-5 required Realtors® to disclose the name of their firm in all advertising of real estate services and listed property. However, in an evolving social media platform, Realtors® could no longer comply with these disclosure requirements. If this requirement were enforced, limited character posts (such as those on Facebook and Twitter) would only show the name of a firm and maybe that of the agent, but never get to the substantive messages. Standard of Practice 12-5 was amended to take these limitations into account, and now provides that these displays are exempt from the requirement to disclose the firm’s name, but only if they are one click away from these disclosures. Please note that this tracks the disclosure requirements set forth by DPOR for electronic advertising.


Realtors® have often called the NVAR Professional Services department wanting to file a complaint against another Realtor®, but were reluctant to do so because it is time consuming.

We heard you; and now, in a case where the Grievance Committee issues a citation and the Respondent pays the fine, neither the Complainant nor the Respondent is required to attend a hearing.

As of January 1, 2011, NVAR complaint procedures were amended to allow for a citation policy.
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