Should Realtor Ethics Violations Be Public Info?

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

I put this question out there to the Active Rain community: should Realtor ethics violations be public information? For a closed-knit organization that prevents its members from bad-mouthing each other, no surprise its stance; it's fiercely protective of its membership. Realtors, reluctantly or eagerly (hard to say) pay dues to belong. Some hold a grudge because they are required to pay dues to NAR and local associations due to company policy at their brokerage, like they wouldn't do so otherwise.

But let's get back to what separates Realtors from regular real estate agents, and that something is the Realtor Code of Ethics. How it is enforced is sometimes another story, but the COE is still near and dear in the hearts of many of us. You can read more in my personal blog today at this link: Realtor Ethics Violations Not Available to the Public.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

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Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Charita Cadenhead No where did I infer that only non-Realtors were unethical. Simply stated the obvious: the thing that separates regular agents from Realtors is the Code of Ethics. Regardless of which group is more or less ethical, whatev, one group does not swear to abide by the Code of Ethics. That's what I am saying. This cannot be disputed. It is a fact.

But I agree with you about how grudges and favoritism can impede fairness.

Sep 14, 2018 09:39 AM #4
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)


Sep 14, 2018 10:21 AM #5
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Elizabeth- That's a tough call. When these things are posted, you really can't get the whole picture of what occurred. Some readers may see that there was an infraction and not go any further than that. This may sound like wishful thinking but I do think that the majority of agents want to do their best to do what's right. If Brokers demand it of their agents and realize that enforcing the breaches will elevate the industry perhaps that would be a start. 

Sep 14, 2018 10:46 AM #6
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Elizabeth,
I don't think the complaints should be made public but perhaps if the complaints are found to be valid they should.  I doubt NAR would ever go for such a thing, though.  It's kind of like a union in that respect. 

That said, we need to get serious about improving the image of our industry, not making it seem worse. 

Sep 14, 2018 11:30 AM #7
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Elizabeth, sounds like it was a dog and pony show, and glad you were found innocent.

Sep 14, 2018 02:53 PM #8
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Kathy Streib I agree it is hard to figure out which are real violations.

Sep 14, 2018 06:46 PM #9
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Carol Williams Well, NAR is a trade association and all that that entails. Dues, training and products probably keep them afloat.

Sep 14, 2018 06:48 PM #10
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Joan Cox It was not at all what I expected. With some of these things, you can throw logic and sanity out the window.

Sep 14, 2018 06:49 PM #11
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Complaints, no but, it they are found 'guilty,' yes. They do that in every other organization - doctors, lawyers, etc.

I'm off to read your post, Elizabeth! Happy Saturday!

Sep 15, 2018 09:31 AM #12
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

In the magickal land of AZ, if you have a problem with the Department, it's public record - a consent order is attached in PDF form to your DRE license entry for anyone to read (some of them are unintentionally hilarious).  Sanctions are also published in a report.

And if audited and found compliant, you get to be on the 'honor roll'.

If the public only knew how much they don't know!
Now why wouldn't that apply to ethics violations confirmed and disciplined?
I think you answered that in your post:

"As long as Realtor Associations are in charge of ethics violations, there will always be drama. It’s like incest in some ways. And they will never publish that information to the public. They aren’t even that sure of it themselves."

:: whistling ::

There it is.

Sep 15, 2018 12:04 PM #13
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

It's a good question, but it does pose a dilemma.  I have never been accused of an ethics violation, so don't really know the protocol for trying to defend against such an action.  I do know that in today's world, there seems to be many folks that get angry at the drop of a hat, sometimes without real cause, and can cause a lot of damage to a real estate professional's reputation.  Add to it, that our realm is highly competitive, and a complaint can be made to bump off some of the competition, and you have an arena that could be absolutely abused.  Still, I believe actual abuses of ethics should be explored and dealt with.

Sep 15, 2018 05:12 PM #14
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                                   Thank you, Elizabeth. 

Sep 15, 2018 05:27 PM #15
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I believe in it and think we should all police each other. The Code is what sets us apart of just being real estate agents. I do think the results of hearings should be posted but not the names.

Sep 15, 2018 07:45 PM #16
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents ethic violations are never presented publicly and that's the reason for the great increase in those violations... no one is exposed.... so they continue to get their wrists slapped and do it again....

Sep 16, 2018 04:28 AM #17
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Custom Home Design

How often are licenses suspended or fines levied?  The Board of Architecture in Texas used to spell out each infraction and send it to members via email.

Sep 16, 2018 04:49 AM #18
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I'm not an agent, so I don't have all the information agents would have to answer this question. From a personal standpoint, I would like the information to be public and feel if something has been proven, it should be public knowledge.

Sep 16, 2018 03:40 PM #19
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

The ethics violators, with names and photos, are at least published on the C.A.R. website for Association members to see, but not the public.

Sep 16, 2018 05:52 PM #20
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

If you commit a crime and you are found guilty it becomes public information and anyone can read about your crime if they so chose to do. No different being a Realtor if you are found guilty there should be consequences, that is my  thought. Most of the time I have seen there is a no muss no foul mentality and it will keep the bad apples committing bad things. I always lived by the sword and will die by the sword, Endre

Sep 16, 2018 10:22 PM #21
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Interesting question.  As an outsider looking in, I'm kind of torn.  On the one hand, you want to protect the public.  On the other hand, some of the public already distrust realtors/real estate agents, so this can make the whole industry look worse due to a few bad apples.  But, I suppose if the violation is so egregious, the agent would lose their license.


I also wonder if the info was made public, if it would make the committees more willing to let something slide.


I'll have to read your article.

Sep 17, 2018 07:18 AM #22
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

I'm sorry, but we should not protect offending agents. I follow the rules. It really isn't all that difficult.

Sep 17, 2018 11:04 PM #23
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