What is the Ombudsman program?
Now in its second year, the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Ombudsman program has been successful in clearing up various disputes and misunderstandings and bringing the parties to a successful resolution. This is a free service that offers guidance on next steps to take, resources for information and can act as an intermediary in some disputes. This is an effective way to address disagreements before they escalate to a formal arbitration and/or ethics violation filing.
How does it work?
Any REALTOR® or member of the public who has concerns involving a REALTOR® or a real estate-related dispute can file for Ombudsman assistance. The case will be assigned to an Ombudsman – typically a member of the Professional Standards or Grievance Committees – who will contact the complainant. The Ombudsman will then contact the REALTOR® respondent to inform them of the issue.
A REALTOR® who has a dispute with another REALTOR® also can request assistance. An Ombudsman is extensively familiar with the REALTORS® Code of Ethics and state real estate regulations; however, they do not provide legal advice.
What are the results so far?
In the past year, we had 67 formal requests for Ombudsman assistance – with more than 90 percent resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant. In many instances, the disagreement was due to a breakdown in communications between the parties. Our Ombudsman are able to act as an intermediary between the parties to find a successful resolution.