Citation Program FAQs
Effective March 1, 2015, a Citation Program was added to the Professional Standards processes available to REALTORS® and members of the public. A citation is a much quicker means of reporting potentially unethical conduct when there is clear, strong, and convincing evidence to support the allegation. It also contains the ability to file anonymously. The key is that there is clear, strong, and convincing evidence attached to the citation complaint.
Here are some FAQ’s about the program:
Why did the MIBOR Board of Directors adopt a citation program?
For a number of years, MIBOR members have expressed reluctance to report unethical conduct for a number of reasons such as the process takes too long, they have to sit across the table from the other REALTOR®, the perception that nothing happens. This program is designed to remove these types of barriers to reporting unethical conduct. The use of a citation will provide a quicker means of resolving a complaint in specific circumstances when there is clear, strong, and convincing proof of a violation.
How long have Citation Programs been in use?
The National Association of REALTORS® formally adopted the use of citations at its national convention in November of 2014. Prior to that, NAR had authorized the California State Association to conduct a pilot program. Other states have adopted this program, including Virginia, Illinois, Oklahoma.
Can a citation always take the place of an ethics complaint?
No. There is a specific list of violations that can be addressed with a citation, and only with clear, strong and convincing evidence attached. The majority of complaints are better heard in a formal ethics hearing where the parties will testify and present evidence.
Who issues the citations?
The Grievance Committees will act as the citation panel. When a citation complaint is filed, it will be reviewed by the Grievance Committee and they will determine whether to dismiss the complaint, issue a citation, or to convert to an ethics complaint and forward to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing. If they determine that the complaint is citable, a fine will be assessed and notification along with a summary of the citation will be provided to the Respondent.
What are the fines associated with a citation?
$150 for the first citation; $250 for the second citation; and $500 for the third citation. No more than three citations may be issued in a three-year period. The fine must be paid within twenty (20) days of the citation.
What happens if I receive a citation and I don’t agree with it?
A REALTOR® has the right to request an ethics hearing to challenge the citation. This request must be filed within twenty (20) days of issuance of the citation.Is there potential for overly vigilant individuals to overuse the citation program?
Is there potential for overly vigilant individuals to overuse the citation program?
Remember that only three (3) citations may be issued in a three-year period. In addition, staff monitors the program closely and reports to the Board of Directors.
What if the citation complaint was filed anonymously and I request a hearing to dispute it? Don’t I have the right to face my accuser?
If a citation is issued due to an anonymous citation complaint, the Grievance Committee will assign a member(s) to act as complainant in a hearing. Remember that a citation complaint cannot go forward unless there is clear, strong, and convincing evidence of a violation. In addition, if a hearing takes place and a REALTOR® feels there has been a due process violation, the REALTOR® always has the right to appeal the decision to the MIBOR Board of Directors.
Due Process Concerns
MIBOR respects the right of members to have due process afforded to them in all of the Professional Standards processes. Where violations of the Code of Ethics are concerned, members are always afforded the right to appeal a decision. This is true with a citation complaint, as well. A member may challenge the citation by requesting a formal hearing, and also has the right to appeal the decision of the ethics hearing panel to the Board of Directors.
To access a printable version of the Citation Complaint Form, click here.
For more information, contact the Professional Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.