Law and Ethics
At DMAR, we take our commitment to professional and ethical business very seriously. Because we promise to uphold the Code of Ethics, we are prepared to review ethics complaints and requests for arbitration in order to serve our members, their clients, and the real estate industry more effectively. In 2016 DMAR began offering an Ombudsman service free to its members. An ombudsman is an individual appointed to receive and resolve disputes through constructive communication and advocating for consensus and understanding. Ombudsman procedures are intended to provide enhanced communications and initial problem-solving capacity at the local level.
Many "complaints" received do not expressly allege violations of specific Articles of the Code of Ethics, and many do not detail conduct related to the Code. Some "complaints" are actually transactional, technical or procedural questions readily responded to.
FEATURED RESOURCE: Legal Hotline
A call to a real estate lawyer costs an average of $300 per hour. In just one hotline call, you can offset your CAR dues! The REALTORS® Legal Hotline (303-785-7171) is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM. This service provides members with direct access to a qualified attorney who can offer information on real estate law, Real Estate Commission Regulations and related matters.
Role of Ombudsmen
The ombudsman's role is primarily one of communication and conciliation, not adjudication. Ombudsmen do not determine whether ethics violations have occurred or who is entitled to what amount of money, rather they anticipate, identify, and resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into disputes and possible charges of unethical conduct.
Ombudsmen can field and respond to a wide variety of inquiries and complaints, including general questions about real estate practice, transaction details, ethical practice, and enforcement issues. Ombudsmen can also receive and respond to questions and complaints about members; can contact members to inform them that a client or customer has raised a question or issue; and can contact members to obtain information necessary to provide an informed response.
In cases where an ombudsman believes that a failure of communication is the basis for a question or complaint, the ombudsman can arrange a meeting of the parties and to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution.
Right to Decline Ombudsman Services: While ombudsman services are available to attempt to informally resolve complaints members and the public may decline ombudsman services. Their complaints are then referred to mediation or considered at a formal ethics hearing.
Confidentiality of Ombudsman Process: The allegations, discussions and decisions made in ombudsman proceedings are confidential.
All disputes are initially handled by a DMAR Ombudsman.
Mediation is a form of facilitated negotiation in which an impartial third party attempts to help disputing parties reach a mutually-satisfactory solution to their problems. DMAR is happy to offer our members the opportunity to use mediation to resolve conflicts, and we ensure that the process is fair, flexible and confidential.
There are numerous benefits to choosing mediation. Because the mediation process is collaborative, not adversarial, it can help resolve issues while preserving positive relationships between all parties. Additionally, mediation often takes far less time and money than formal litigation.
The goal of a successful mediation is to have both parties come to a mutual agreement in writing upon the mediation's conclusion. Once the agreement is signed, parties are legally bound to abide by its terms.
REAL TORS® agree as a condition of membership to arbitrate contractual disputes and specific non-contractual disputes as provided for in Article 17 of the NAR Code of Ethics. Arbitration is available to DMAR members. Note: Disputes between members from two different Boards/Associations are handled by the Colorado Association of REALTORS® (303) 790-7099.
The Code of Ethics ensures that REALTORS® stick to a higher level of professionalism by outlining industry standards and expectations. This process helps our members, clients, and the industry by protecting REALTORS® who adhere to principled practices and dealing formally with those who do not.
- Before You File an Ethics Complaint
- Ethics Complaints FAQs
- 2017 Code of Ethics
- 2017 Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual