How to File a Professional Standards Complaint | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

One of the most common questions we get is how to formally place an Ethics complaint or request for Arbitration, so we’ve put together this handy guide to walk you through the process and ensure your case meets the requirements.

Here are the key requirements to file a compliant, set forth by the National Association of REALTORS® and followed by the Grievance Committee. Some apply to both Ethics and Arbitration.

Mandatory Information to Include in an Ethics Complaint

  • Ethics complaints must be filed with the Chicago Association of REALTORS® within 180 days from the time a complainant knew (or reasonably should have known) that potentially unethical conduct took place, or within 180 days after the conclusion of the transaction or event.
  • Note the date when the alleged violation took place so that Grievance can determine if the request is filed on time. This is the most common item left off of Ethics Complaints!
  • State clearly your involvement or connection to the complaint and be sure to name all appropriate parties.
  • Include a narrative timeline of the circumstances that led you to believe the Code of Ethics may have been violated. Use as much detail as possible to help the committee reach a decision.
  • Cite one or more of the Articles of the Code of Ethics alleged to have been violated – this is a must! The Code of Ethics is broken into three sections: duties to clients and customers, duties to the public and duties to REALTORS®. Knowing this should help to narrow down the potential Articles that you would cite on your complaint. Each Article also has a supporting Standard of Practice that can also help to determine if you are filing under the correct Article.
  • Your Managing Broker should file and sign the complaint.

After You File

Once you file a complaint online, it is forwarded to either our Citation or Grievance committees for review. These committees meet monthly to review filed complaints and Arbitration requests, but before the filing moves forward, the committees ensure that each one meets the criteria explained above.

Please note: most Grievance committee decisions for dismissal come from any of the above information being left out. Ensuring that you include all necessary information can save time in getting your file forwarded or keep it from getting dismissed. Also know that if your filing is dismissed, you are given the option to appeal.

For questions on how to file a complaint or any other Professional Standards topic, please feel free to contact us at