Should Realtors Be Required To File Complaints On Fellow Real Estate Agents?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP 0524642

If I witness a crime on the streets am I required by law to report it? If not, is it possible I could be labeled a conspirator? I've watched enough Judge Judy & Boston Legal to know about accessory and accessory after the fact.

That was meant to be funny.

On a more serious note, Realtors do operate by a very real Code of Ethics. We are also licensed by our perspective states and there mare many laws & standards of practices that are in place to ensure that we do right by not only the public, but by each other.

What if I were to witness a fellow Realtor commit an egregious crime/violation of ethics? Am I legally bound by the Real Estate Commission/COE to turn him in? Morally, most of you reading this would say, "fry his ass!" But are we "required" and should we be required is my question.

I am working for a seller right now. I have his home on the market and just executed a contract with a buyer who is represented by an UNLICENSED REALTOR. The agents license is inactive and has no more legal right to practice real estate than my pet turtle. If the commission were to find out there's a possibility this individual would have their licensed revoked.

Practicing real estate without a license is against the law.

Should a new code be added?

Posted by


Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)




The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  






Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joe Jackson 07/17/2015 05:02 AM
  2. Dale Taylor 11/24/2016 08:25 PM
Real Estate Best Practices

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Bethanne Baer
Bear Team Real Estate LLC - Orlando, FL
The Bear Team

I agree, we as agents should keep our own backyard clean, but many boards charge to file, plus the inordinate amount of time necessary to prepare for the complaint, attend the hearings, and follow up. This can make it a bit overwhelming for many agents.

Jul 20, 2015 07:56 AM #67
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Prado Real Estate South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Greg, I guess that unlicensed agent is working for free! I would definitely have a conversation with my broker about the situation.

Jul 20, 2015 07:57 AM #68
Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker
Aloha Kai Real Estate - Clearwater, FL
Florida and Washington Real Estate

In the State of Florida we can report those selling real estate other than their own online for unlicensed activity. It's a felony.

We can also check if someone has a license at The State of Florida makes it easier to report and research.

Jul 20, 2015 07:59 AM #69
Joan Zappa
Eagles Wings Realty - Montrose, CO
Professional treatment of our clients, brings awes

I think you should approach this individual and get all the facts before proceeding. If there is something questionable then take the next step.

Jul 20, 2015 08:28 AM #70
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Definitely tell your Broker - here in GA, the commission is earned by the listing Broker, and shared with the buyer's broker - and since GA requires an active license to earn a commission - potentially your Broker could have some liability for sharing commission with a non-licensee.

Jul 20, 2015 08:36 AM #71
Barbara (Easton-) Irvin
The K Company Realty - Fort Lauderdale, FL
The "Seaside Realtor"

A person must have a real estate license to receive compensation for services rendered as a real estate broker/agent. Unlicensed activity is illegal, but buyers and sellers acting as principals in the sale or purchase of real estate are usually not required to be licensed. Lawyers, in some states, are authorized to handle real estate sales for compensation without being licensed as brokers or agents.  You need to speak to your broker about this so call "realtor" and let your broker take the proper actions.

Jul 20, 2015 10:32 AM #73
Louis Peasley

 'I have his home on the market and just executed a contract with a buyer who is represented by an UNLICENSED REALTOR.'

If you knew the realtor was unlicensed at the time you executed the contract, you, as a licensed realtor, potentially expose yourself to legal liabilities to all parties, with perhaps a greater level of culpability than the unlicensed realtor.

Jul 20, 2015 10:34 AM #74
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

I once reported to our local board about a 'Realtor Associate' who advertised herself on line as a "REALTOR", and she was NOT Greg Nino .  The board representative said they would follow up and nothing ever happened.

Jul 20, 2015 11:02 AM #75
Anne Edwards Johnson
JP and Associates - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor | HookemhomesATX (512)917-5260

Can't wait to see all of the answers to this queston.  ????

Jul 20, 2015 11:14 AM #76
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Oh, Greg Nino ...  Always trying to stir the pot.  

Jul 20, 2015 09:47 PM #77
Amy Steele Realtor SRS CNE NHS MRP
JP and Associates - North Richland Hills, TX
Live,Work, North Texas

Turn him in. It is illegal and you could get in trouble for paying a fee to an unlicensed agent. 

Jul 21, 2015 02:27 AM #78
Theresa Akin

That is if anything something to definitely check and confirm the activeness of the license. My renewal is in end of Feb-2016 and all the paperwork will be recorded when I renew my license by the beginning of the month. 

Jul 21, 2015 03:11 AM #79
Everett Ballenger
Ballenger Realty - Beaufort, SC

As you say - it is just against the law to practice real estate without a valid and active license. You would also be breaking the law if you or your company paid him a commission. As a BIC, I personally would not accept the offer to purchase from him. We had a similar situation this year, and just told the (former) agent his "buyer" needed to be represented by a legal buyer agent. It did not go down well...but not much I could do about that!

Jul 21, 2015 05:05 AM #80
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Yes, but clear with your broker first with evidence. He utimately decides the magnitude of the compliant.  If you suspect both are on to something together. You need to find another broker first. All brokerages practice at will employment.


Jul 21, 2015 11:56 AM #81
Deleted Account
Fort Myers, FL

This is illegal and a violation of the code of ethics.  If a person is not licensed or their license is inactive, they are not a Realtor and can't represent someone in a transaction, nor can they receive compensation.  I would mention it to my broker that my license is under for advice.  I would also make sure their name isn't on any documents, as they can't legally represent a buyer.

Jul 23, 2015 06:34 AM #82
Shanna Day Team Leader AZ & UT - Call 480-415-7616
Keller Williams Realty EV (AZ) & Keller Williams SLC (UT) - Mesa, AZ
Top .0033% of 40,000+ Realtors in our MLS

I get calls quite often from Realtors who don't have lockbox keys asking me if I could be so kind as to let them in one of my listings.   When I ask a few questions, they found me by looking on Zillow, Trulia or rather than the MLS.   That's an easy clue that they are not licensed.   I'm really put out how often those calls come in!   We need to report at least to our brokers and let them take it from there.  

Jul 23, 2015 03:13 PM #83
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Forget the other Broker (there obviously isn't one if he/she is unlicensed), Greg Nino, contact your Local AND State Board attorneys.  Let your Seller know what you're doing every step of the way as well.  Keep us posted on the outcome.

Jul 26, 2015 01:39 AM #84
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

That stinks, period.  We're "working" in a field with so many others that don't follow the rules and give the rest of us a bad name!

Jul 27, 2015 12:46 PM #85
Dale Taylor
Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois - Frankfort, IL
Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos

I liked this so much I am re-blogging with a helpful added twist I hope you will like as well.  Thanks for inspiring me to write about a resent memory.

Nov 24, 2016 08:21 PM #86
Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

In California, it's illegal to pay a commission except to the broker. If he has no valid license, he has no broker. Does he know he's working for free? Find out and limit your own liability.

Nov 24, 2016 08:41 PM #87
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Houston, Texas
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