California Realtors publishing names and photos of ethics violators, but not for public

Violations published on going-forward basis on members-only section of CAR website

Starting today, the California Association of Realtors begins publishing the names and photos of those who are found to have violated the Realtor Code of Ethics in a members-only section of its website unavailable to the public.

Only real estate professionals who are also members of Realtor associations must abide by the Realtor Code of Ethics. While local Realtor associations can currently publish the names of certain code of ethics violators to their members, no state Realtor association has done so until now.

Unwanted attention image via Shutterstock.
Unwanted attention image via Shutterstock.

The National Association of Realtors approved a pilot program in May allowing CAR — the country’s largest state Realtor association with 165,000 members — to create a statewide database of those disciplined for code of ethics violations and to publish their names, photos, and a brief synopsis of the violation and the disciplinary action received.

The trade group took on the project as part of a campaign to increase professionalism in the real estate industry.

Most violations are related to advertising, CAR said in an announcement.

But CAR members “overwhelmingly cite problems with failure to cooperate with other agents (unavailability to show, misrepresent availability, give their buyers priority, failure to present all offers, etc.),” the trade group said.

“Make sure you know the rules, so your name is not on the list!”

Violations will be published only on a going-forward basis — determinations made before today won’t be included.

“It will not go backwards so there will only be a few in the beginning — maybe not any at first,” said CAR spokeswoman Lotus Lou.

Anything other than a warning or stand-alone order to take education classes will be published, including all reprimands, fines, suspensions and expulsions.

CAR will publish the name and photo of the violator, but not the name of his or her real estate firm or broker unless the broker was also found in violation. The member’s real estate license number or office address will also be published if their name is similar to that of another member.

Also included: a list of the articles of the code that were violated; a factual synopsis of the incident; and the discipline imposed along with its effective date, duration and rationale.

Local associations will be free to republish the information in their own members-only publications, CAR said.


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