Professional Standards & Code of Ethics

Important Resources for Code of Ethics and Filing Complaints

NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

Filing a Complaint

Most complaints are handled by a Local REALTORS® Association. If contacting Tennessee REALTORS®, staff will provide you with information about which local association to call to file your complaint. However, there are times in which Ethics and Arbitration matters will be brought before the state association.

If you wish to file an ethics complaint, you will want to start by reviewing the Code of Ethics (COE).

The Code is the standard by which the Grievance Committee of the Board reviews allegations of potential violations. The Articles in the COE are the specific obligations that can subject REALTOR® members to disciplinary action after a due process hearing.

After carefully reading the Code, complete the ethics complaint form, which will be supplied by the local association. Include an explanation of why you believe a specific Article (or Articles) has been violated.

Any ethics complaint must cite an Article since that is the standard by which REALTORS®’ conduct is judged; a Standard of Practice may only be cited in support of a charge that an Article was violated. You must also include the date you became aware there was a potential violation.

If you have difficulty making the determination concerning which Articles have been violated, write what your complaint is and explain the situation as clearly as possible.

Ethics and Arbitration Matters Before the State

An ethics or arbitration matter can be heard before the State Association rather than the local board for a variety of different reasons.  These include:

  • Allegations of unethical conduct made against a Realtor® or Realtor-Associate® who is a Member of the State Association and not a Member of any local Association;
  • Allegations of unethical conduct made against a Realtor® or Realtor-Associate® in the instance in which the local Association, because of size or other valid reasons, determines that it cannot provide a due process hearing of the matter and petitions the State Association to conduct a hearing;
  • Contractual disputes (and specific non-contractual disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4) between Realtors® who are not Members of the same local Association where the matter has been referred to the State Association by both local Associations;
  • Contractual disputes (and specific non-contractual disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4) between Realtors® who are directly Members of the State Association and are not Members of any local Association.
  • Contractual disputes (and specific non-contractual disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4) between Realtor® Members of the same local Association where the local Association with good and sufficient reason is unable to arbitrate the controversy. 
  • Contractual disputes between a customer and a client and Realtor® where the local Association with good and sufficient reason is unable to arbitrate the dispute or the Realtor® is a direct Member of the State Association.

Once a matter is referred to Tennessee REALTORS®, its Professional Standards Committee will then review the matter and either:

  • dismiss that matter;
  • present it to a Hearing Panel of TAR’s Professional Standards Committee; or
  • refer it to another local association or regional enforcement facility.

If the matter is referred for a hearing or to another local association or regional enforcement facility, a Hearing Panel will be appointed. The Hearing Panel will conduct a hearing and then forward its decision to the local Association. The Board of Directors of the local Association shall then implement the decision of the Hearing Panel. The decisions and/or procedures of the hearing can be appealed to the Tennessee REALTORS® Board of Directors within twenty days of the Hearing Panel’s final decision.