Code of Ethics Enforcement – Frequently Asked Questions
The following information is specifically for the South Metro Denver REALTOR® Association and does not address all policies and procedures. If you wish to file a complaint, please download the forms from the ethics or arbitration section or please contact Melissa Maldonado at the Association office to have the forms e-mailed to you.
Ethics complaints are filed where the respondent holds membership. The South Metro Denver REALTOR® Association can only process complaints filed against members of our Association, whether they are filed by another REALTOR® or by a client/customer of a REALTOR®. Please contact the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, 303-790-7099, if you are uncertain where the REALTOR® holds membership
The South Metro Denver REALTOR® Association can only process arbitration requests filed where both parties, complainant and respondent, are members of our Association OR if the complainant is a client or customer of a REALTOR® (not a REALTOR®) it is filed at the respondent local Board/Association. All other complaints where the REALTORS® are from different Boards/Associations, are considered Inter-Board Arbitrations, and filed appropriately at the Colorado Association of REALTORS®
YES. Ethics complaints must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days of the time that the alleged offense and relating facts could have been known by the complainant in the exercise of reasonable diligence. 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 in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later.
At SMDRA, the complaints are given to the Professional Standards Administrator or to the Executive Officer who will forward the information to the PS Administrator. Complaints can be hand delivered or mailed, whichever the complainant prefers. Please remember that the Association administers the program and can answer procedural questions, we do NOT give either side legal or other advice.
Ethics – An ethics complaint form must be completed and filed. In addition, a written statement of the facts (with appropriate documentation, if any) on which the complaint is based must also be included, dated, and signed by the complainant. The appropriate Article(s) as they pertain to the facts in the alleged violation must be cited in the complaint.
Arbitration – An arbitration request form must be completed and submitted with details of the dispute and the deposit of $250 (which may be refundable if the requestor is found to be the prevailing party). In addition, include whatever documentation that may help substantiate your position.
YES. A charge of violating the law or State real estate regulations is not a matter that would be considered by the board/association of REALTORS®, these are appropriately handled by the Colorado Real Estate Commission which can be reached at 303-894-2166. Also, the Association is not a court of law where criminal or civil issues are resolved.
It depends on the circumstances. A REALTOR® may be obligated to arbitrate, or he/she may have a choice as to whether or not to voluntarily participate in an arbitration proceeding conducted by the Association.
In any ethics hearing or other hearing convened to consider alleged violations of membership duties and in any arbitration hearing, the ultimate burden of proving that the Code of Ethics or other membership duty has been violated, or that an arbitration award should be issued to the requesting party, is at all times on complainants and parties requesting arbitration.
The standard of proof on which arbitration hearing decisions is based shall be a preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence shall be defined as evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the facts sought to be proved are more probable than not.
Clear, strong, and convincing shall be the standard of proof by which alleged violations of all membership duties, including violations of the Code of Ethics, are determined. Clear, strong, and convincing shall be defined as that measure or degree of proof which will produce a firm belief or conviction as to the allegations sought to be established.
The allegations, findings, and decisions rendered in ethics and arbitration hearings are confidential and are NOT reported or published by the Association. Only the staff involved in the administration of cases, along with the assigned members from the Grievance and Professional Standards Committees, have access to ethics or arbitration cases.
Code enforcement achieves a number of goals. Where REALTORS® are wrongly or mistakenly charged with unethical conduct, the hearing process provides personal and professional vindication. Where violations are determined, the hearing process educates members about their professional obligations and serves as a meaningful deterrent to future violations. It is educational in that it raises the consciousness of members to the meaning and significance of the Code. Many ethics violations occur inadvertently or through ignorance, and the hearing proceeding serves as an effective educational tool.