2015 ETHICS CITATION POLICY FAQ’S
Why is a Citation Policy necessary when there are already procedures in place to deal with Code of Ethics Violations?
In 2005, a California Association of REALTORS® Task Force was created and given the mission to review the current state of professional and ethical business practices of REALTORS® and to recommend programs to address any concerns. The Task Force discovered, in a survey of members, that many REALTORS® do not file ethics complaints, even for identifiable unethical conduct, because the felt that the procedure is too cumbersome and time consuming. Our Board of Directors has adopted the Ethics Citation System as part of The Chicago Association of REALTORS® ongoing efforts to increase the professionalism of our membership, expedite the Ethics Complaint process, and to protect the buying and selling public.
What are some of the key advantages that the Citation Policy offers that current professional standards procedures do not?
- Time for process: If a citation is issued and paid by the violator, the entire process is completed in thirty (30) days or less. By contrast, the process for a professional standards hearing generally takes from sixty (60) to ninety (90) days or more.
- Association facilities: If a Citation is issued and paid by the violator, no association facilities are used. By contrast, the process for a professional standards hearing, generally requires one (1) or more hearings, all of which necessitate the use of association meeting rooms.
- Volunteer time: If a citation is issued and paid by the violator, no volunteers from the professional standards committee or board of directors are involved. By contrast, the normal process for a professional standards hearing requires the participation of three (3) or four (4) members of the professional standards committee and, if there is a request for review, three (3) or four (4) directors.
- Staff time and association resources: If a citation is issued and paid by the violator, a minimal amount of staff time and association resources are used. By contrast, the normal process for a professional standards hearing requires a great deal of staff time and association resources to prepare paperwork, coordinate a hearing panel and set hearing dates – not to mention what is involved to actually hold hearings at the association.
If a citation is issued, can the member who receives the citation ask for a full professional standards hearing?
Yes. When the violation is sent to the member, the violator is advised that he/she has the right to request a full due process hearing, rather than pay the citation fine.
What happens if a violator ignores the citation?
If a violator fails to respond to a citation, a full professional standards hearing is processed, and all the normal procedures for a disciplinary complaint are in effect.
If the matter goes to hearing, is the hearing panel limited in the discipline that they can recommend?
No. Any matter that goes to hearing is treated like a normal ethics complaint, whereas the Grievance Committee may add additional violations. Also, the hearing panel, if it finds a violation, can recommend any discipline it deems appropriate.
If the member who receives a citation is a broker, is that person’s Managing Broker notified?
Can a REALTOR® receive a Code of Ethics citation if he or she has received an MLS citation for the same event and conduct?
No. It is the responsibility of the person receiving the Code of Ethics citation to demonstrate to the association that he/she has already paid a fine to the MLS for the same event and conduct.
How does the association know what kinds of conduct are subject to a citation?
The Illinois Association of REALTORS® has published a Model Citation Schedule that lists all the conduct that is subject to citation.
Is it mandatory for an association to adopt all the citations on the Model Schedule?
No. The association can adopt all or fewer than all the citations on the Model Schedule – it’s strictly up to the individual association to decide which citations they wish to adopt.
Can the Association adopt citations that are not on the Model Schedule?
No. The only citations that may be adopted are those on the Model Schedule.
How much is the fine for a citation?
The amount of the fine is a matter of local option. There is not a suggested dollar figure.
Are there any alternatives to a fine for a citation?
The association can require attendance at ethics training, as an alternative to a fine. Though, any training requirement is a matter of local option.
Has the Citation Policy been approved by The National Association of REALTORS®?
Is it mandatory for an association to adopt the Citation Policy?
No. The Chicago Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors has the option to adopt the Citation Policy – or not.
Does The National Association of REALTORS® Professional Liability Insurance cover the Citation Policy?
Yes. The Citation Policy has been approved by The National Association of REALTORS®. Therefore, the association, its staff and volunteers are covered by The National Association of REALTORS® insurance for any liability that may arise out of the Citation Policy.