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Professional Standards

Ethics Complaints, Ombudsman Service, Arbitration Requests and Other Related Information

REALTORS® are different from non-member licensees in that they voluntarily subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics. If someone believes that a REALTOR® has violated one or more Articles of the Code of Ethics, they are free to file an ethics complaint alleging a violation(s) through any local board of REALTORS® where the REALTOR® holds membership, or participates in a REALTOR®-owned/operated MLS. In addition, REALTORS® 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.

Below are several resources to help you understand what an ethics complaint and arbitration request entails, and the general process you can expect when filing an ethics complaint or arbitration request with a local association of REALTORS®.


Although the majority of real estate transactions close without incident, there is a possibility that a problem or dispute could occur. When that happens, it is usually successfully resolved by the parties through normal communication and negotiation. In the past, when negotiations failed, parties took their case to court. Today, they are taking their disputes to mediation.

Maryland REALTORS Mediation Program

Ombudsman Services

The definition of Ombudsman services for REALTORS® - The Ombudsman Program in its simplest definition is informal telephone mediation.  In some cases it can address and solve minor complaints from the public.  It can also solve inter-REALTOR® conflicts before they become serious problems.  Like a mediator, an ombudsman helps parties find solutions, but does not impose solutions. To learn more about the Ombuds process and/or to file a request for Ombudsman Service, please see the documents below.

Before You File an Ethics Complaint

This brochure explains alternatives to consider before filing an ethics complaint, as well as what to expect after filing a complaint.

Use this form to file an Ethics complaint against a REALTOR Member.

Use these form to file for Arbitration. Arbitration is Broker to Broker. REALTORS wishing to file for Arbitration must have their Broker or Designated REALTOR file on their behalf.

For more information, visit the REALTOR Professional Standards page.