New Ethics Citation System

Ethics Citation System for Code of Ethics and Lockbox Violations

To uphold professionalism in our industry, the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors adopted an Ethics Citation System to improve the process, and help protect buyers and sellers. Chicago REALTORS® facing ethics citations now will have the opportunity to save time and money by opting into this expedited system. The new system took effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

How the Ethics Citation System Works

  • A REALTOR® or member of the public can file a citation against a Chicago REALTOR®. The citation must allege a violation in accordance with our Citation Violation Schedule. An Ethics Citation complaint can be filed anonymously.
  • The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged event.
  • The Chicago Association of REALTORS®’ Citation Panel will meet to review the complaint.
  • If the Citation Panel determines that based on the information provided, there is enough to support a violation of the Code of Ethics, it will fine the REALTOR® based on the Citation Violation Schedule.
  • The REALTOR® has 30 days to pay the fine or request a hearing. If a hearing is requested, the complaint will proceed to the Code of Ethics hearing process.
  • If payment isn’t submitted within the time-frame allotted for the specific violation, CAR membership privileges will be revoked – including MLS access.

Why Use the Ethics Citation System?

For Complainants: The Ethics Citation System enables the Chicago Association of REALTORS® to more quickly discipline unethical conduct. Under the program, a complaint can be filed anonymously. The program is limited to certain Code of Ethics Articles (See schedule below).

To file a complaint, the complainant must support the alleged unethical conduct with written or other documented evidence. If the respondent appeals and chooses a hearing and the complainant is also a REALTOR®, then the complainant would be required to participate in the administrative proceedings of the hearing. If the complainant is not a REALTOR® member, the Chicago Association of REALTORS® would encourage the complainant to attend the hearing.

For Respondents: Chicago REALTORS® who participate in the Ethics Citation System by paying the fine can avoid a time-consuming hearing process. This a confidential process that can save the embarrassment of a hearing process yet still provide due process rights to all parties.

REALTORS® may request a hearing within 30 days of being cited. The hearing panel will then consider all evidence and make a determination whether a violation occurred. If the hearing panel determines a violation did occur, the sanction could be more than the citation schedule.

You can contact or (312) 803-4900 for additional information.

Code of Ethics – Citation Violation Schedule

Article 1$250SOP 1-7: Failure on the part of a listing broker to provide, as soon as practical, written affirmation that an offer was presented to the seller/landlord or written notification that the seller/landlord has waived the obligation to have the offer presented, upon written request of a cooperating broker submitting an offer.
 $2,500SOP 1-16: Accessing or using or allowing others to access or use a property managed or listed on terms other than those authorized by the owner or seller.
Article 3$500SOP 3-4: Failure to disclose existence of a dual or variable rate commission.
 $250SOP 3-6: Failure to disclose existence of other contracts to cooperating brokers.
 $2,500SOP 3-9: Providing access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the seller.
Article 4$500Failure to disclose REALTORS® interest in a property being bought or sold.
Article 5$500Providing professional services without disclosing interest in the property.
Article 6$500Accepting any commission, rebate or profit on expenditures without client’s knowledge or consent.
Article 12$250Failure to present a true picture in real estate communications and advertising.
 $250Failure to disclose professional status as a real estate professional in advertising or other real estate communications.
 $250SOP 12-1: Representing brokerage services to a client or customer as free or available at no cost when the REALTOR® receives compensation from any source for those services
 $500SOP 12-4: Advertisement offering to sell/lease property without the authority of the owner or the listing broker.
 $250SOP 12-5: Failure to disclose name of firm in advertisement for listed property.
 $500SOP 12-6: Failing to disclose status as both owner/landlord and REALTOR® or licensee when advertising property in which REALTOR® has ownership interest.
 $250SOP 12-7: Claiming to have “sold” a property when not the listing broker or cooperating broker.
 $250SOP 12-9: Failure to disclose firm name and state of licensure on REALTOR® firm website.
 $250SOP 12-10: Misleading consumers through deceptive framing, manipulating content, deceptively diverting internet traffic, or presenting other’s content without attribution or permission.
 $500SOP 12-12: Registering or using of deceptive URL or domain name.
 $500SOP 12-13: Representing that the REALTOR® has a designation, certification, or other credential they are not entitled to use.
Article 14$500Failure to cooperate in any professional standards proceeding.
Article 16$500SOP 16-16: Use terms of an offer to modify listing broker’s offer of compensation.
 $250SOP 16-19: Placement of “for sale” or “for lease” sign on property without permission of the seller/landlord.

Lockbox Rules

C.A.R. Policy 611: Security of Property Policy$2,500No Member responsible for a real estate listing shall provide any third-party access to the listed real estate without the seller’s consent and pursuant to the terms and conditions that the seller may reasonably request. No Member shall provide lockbox codes or similar access devices or information to unauthorized third-parties in a manner that violates the terms of any Sentrilock or other lockbox agreement or policies. No Member who holds, possesses, or is responsible for an electronic keycard or mobile application shall allow that electronic keycard or mobile application to be used by any person other than a person authorized to use the keycard or mobile application. No Member shall give an electronic code or combo code to any person not authorized to use or possess the code.