When a real estate licensee joins a local Board
or Association of REALTORS®, he or she agrees to conform his or
her conduct to the NAR Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is comprised
of a Preamble and 17 Articles, with corresponding Standards of Practice
that support and interpret each Article. Case Interpretations provided
by NAR demonstrate the application of the Articles to particular fact
Although the Code of Ethics contains 17 Articles and numerous Standards of Practice and Case Interpretations, this essay will discuss only Article 15 and an applicable Case Interpretation.
The exclusion of some does not mean they are not important - only that space does not permit a discussion of all.
We urge you to review the Code in its entirety.
(Please note that the Code of Ethics is subject to copyright 2004 by the National Association of REALTORS® and may not be reproduced without their permission.)
You will find a copy of the Code of Ethics on both C.A.R.'s and NAR's websites.
Article 15 prohibits REALTORS® from knowingly making false or misleading statements about their competitors as follows:
"REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about competitors, their businesses or their business practices. (Amended 1/92)"HYPOTHETICAL: REALTOR® Armando was a broker in a highly competitive market area. One day he spotted an ad from one of his competitors, REALTOR® Susie. The ad showed a graph comparing the percentage of total listings in the MLS listed by REALTOR® Susie with the listings of other brokers in the area. REALTOR® Armando thought that the percentage of listings for him, 10%, was low. After checking his records and confirming that his percentage was actually 11 %, he filed a complaint charging REALTOR® Susie with violation of Article 15.
IS THAT YOUR FINAL ANSWER? No. In Case #15-1, the Hearing Panel found that REALTOR® Susie's ad, while slightly inaccurate, was based on usually accurate information from the MLS and was made in good faith - not "knowing" or "reckless," Therefore, REALTOR® Susie was not in violation of the Code.
BOTTOM LINE: If you're going to make representations about your competitors, be sure you're reasonably accurate and have a good faith belief in its truth.