Major Updates to the Code of Ethics in 2024

By MNR News posted 02-27-2024 11:58 AM

The Code of Ethics is a living document that reflects the needs of the real estate profession and the clients it serves. NAR’s changes to the Code are intended to make the manual more accessible, useful, and applicable for all Realtors® and brokers.

NAR’s Professional Standards Committee is updating the Code of Ethics Manual to better reflect contemporary culture in real estate and the nation. They also are clarifying details and issues that are commonly misunderstood by members and the public.

Code of Ethics Updated with More Gender Neutral and Inclusive Language
To keep pace with evolving social standards, language in the manual will be made as gender neutral as possible. Also, to be more broadly inclusive of all members, the word “Board” will be replaced with “Association” where applicable. Although some of these changes might seem minor and even tedious, collectively they help raise the level of professionalism in the real estate industry. As part of this effort, the language in NAR’s “Pathways to Professionalism” publications are being similarly revised and updated. 

Building Professionalism with C2EX

Although courtesy and professionalism are key words we all know, putting them to practice in our businesses can be challenging. That’s why NAR has renewed its push to enroll more members in the C2EX endorsement process. Ultimately, as we become more involved in our communities, the more invested we are in encouraging, supporting, and upholding professional standards among all members. 

Settling Disputes Through Mediation
Because commission disputes are a reality of the real estate industry, NAR urges members to seek mediation whenever possible. Realtors® should remember that anything said in mediation cannot be used against a party during an arbitration. NAR notes that specific instructions regarding this fact should be included in the Chair’s guidelines for an arbitration hearing. Minnesota Realtors® (MNR) provides all members with comprehensive mediation services. The only requirement is that both sides are willing to resolve disputes through this process. 

Revisions to SOPs on Improper Property Access
NAR is also clarifying confusion over two similar standards of practice (SOP), related to improperly accessing a listed property. 

SOP 1-16:
REALTORS® shall not access or use, or permit or enable others to access or use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those authorized by the owner or seller. (Adopted 1/12)  

SOP 3-9:
REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the seller. (Adopted 1/10, Amended 1/23) 

Although they are similar, these SOPs clarify different aspects of Articles 1 and 3. Drawing from Article 1’s focus on relationships and duties to clients, SOP 1-16 covers incidents where a listing broker allows access to a property that violates the client’s terms. By contrast, SOP 3-9 is based on Article 3’s focus on cooperation. So, it looks at issues arising from buyer agents showing their clients properties without obtaining proper permissions. 

Changes to Definition of Timeliness
In another substantive change, the definition of timeliness for both Code of Ethics Complaints and Compensation Arbitrations has been altered. It now specifies that the facts could have been known “by the Complainant.” See the new text below: 

Requests for arbitration must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within one hundred eighty (180) days after the facts constituting the arbitrable matter could have been known by the complainant in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later. 

 To read this article in the January/February 2024 issue of The Minnesota Realtor magazine, click here