Disputes and Concerns
The name “ombudsman” comes from the Swedish language, and literally means “representative.” The primary duties of an organizational ombudsman are (1) to work with individuals to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns, and (2) to bring systemic concerns to the attention of the organization for resolution. An organizational ombudsman operates in a manner to preserve the confidentiality of those seeking services, maintains a neutral/impartial position with respect to the concerns raised, works at an informal level of the organizational system, and is independent of formal organizational structures.
Ombudsmen are available to communicate with REALTOR® members, clients or customers of REALTOR® members, or with members of the public regarding issues or concerns they may have related to a real estate transaction. The ombudsman will explore approaches and available resources to address concerns or to resolve a dispute. They can provide third-party intervention (such as shuttle diplomacy or facilitated dialogues) and offer informal coaching on handling challenging communications. The ombudsman process is typically less adversarial and more timely in addressing concerns and conflicts than the more formal processes.
Ombudsman services are available as a voluntary, no cost resource. Ombudsmen are REALTOR® members and staff members trained in the roles and responsibilities of an ombudsman. They hold affiliate membership with the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). Ombudsmen are thoroughly familiar with the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practices, the NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Practices, state real estate rules and regulations, and current real estate practices.
The Professional Standards Office assists CARNM’s Board of Directors in enforcing the NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and other membership duties as set forth in the CARNM Bylaws.
Anyone alleging violation(s) of the NAR Code of Ethics by one of our REALTOR® members may submit an Ethics Complaint. There is no fee to file an Ethics Complaint.
CARNM offers arbitration to resolve disputes over entitlement to a monetary transaction (e.g., a commission). A customer, client, or REALTOR® principal can request arbitration at CARNM. An arbitration filing fee of $250 is required by both the complainant and the respondent in an arbitration matter. Mediation is also available at $150 per party as a less formal and more timely means of resolving arbitration matters.
The NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual and the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice are the source material and governing documents for CARNM’s professional standards policies and procedures. CARNM Grievance Committee and Professional Standards Committee members are trained in the NAR Code of Ethics and Professional Standards procedures. Grievance Committee receive ethics complaints and arbitration requests to determine if a hearing is warranted, and Professional Standards Committee members serve on hearing panels to make decisions on matters involving ethics or arbitration.
Notice to Members & the Public
These processes apply to CARNM members and members of the public who have concerns regarding a real estate transaction, questions regarding a REALTOR® member’s conduct, or a monetary dispute.