2020 Code of Ethics Changes

At the end of a year, we reflect on the past year so that we can focus on the new year.  Regardless of our past or future accomplishments, change is the common denominator. While we are generally resistant to change, change is inevitable.

In the upcoming year, there are minor changes to the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual (COEAM).  Those changes are below.

Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual

Article 3, Standard of Practice 3-11 (New)

REALTORS® may not refuse to cooperate on the basis of a broker’s race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Standard of Practice 12-2 is deleted and Standard of Practice 12-1 is amended

Unless they are receiving no compensation from any source for their time and services, REALTORS® may use the term “free” and similar terms in their advertising and in other representations provided that all terms governing availability of the offered product or service are clearly disclosed at the same time only if they clearly and conspicuously disclose:

1) by whom they are being, or expect to be, paid;

2) the amount of the payment or anticipated payment;

3) any conditions associated with the payment, offered product, or service, and

4) any other terms relating to their compensation.

While the COEAM changes are minor, the Code of Ethics training requirements are more significant.  Specifically, Code of Ethics classes now have to be approved by a local, state or national REALTOR® association.  If the class is not approved by any of those entities, the Code of Ethics training will not be recognized.  To see how this change evolved, see below.

Code of Ethics Training Requirement

In 2014, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Board of Directors approved the Code of Ethics training to be conducted every two years instead of four, effective in 2017.  In 2018, there were many associations facing challenges administering the two-year cycle of the Code of Ethics training requirement.  Accordingly, in 2018, a Code of Ethics Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) was formed to address the issues.

This year at the National Convention in San Francisco, the PAG recommended and the Board of Directors approved, extending the Code of Ethics training requirement from every two years to every three years and extending the current cycle from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2021.  The next cycle will begin January 1, 2022 and end December 31, 2024.

In addition to the above, the PAG recommended and NAR’s Leadership Team approved:

  • Learning objectives for existing-member Code of Ethics training be revised to include content on professional conduct, courtesies, business etiquette, and real-life scenarios.
  • NAR will establish Code of Ethics training equivalency options that members can take to satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement, and the Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) endorsement can be an equivalency option.
  • Only courses and equivalencies provided by a local, state, or national REALTOR® association can satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement.

If you would like a copy of the 2020 Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, you may download a copy here.

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