In order to provide enhanced communications and initial problem-solving capacity for disputes between the public and REALTORS® as well as between REALTORS®, the Eastern Connecticut Association of REALTORS® has adopted an Ombudsman program, an optional professional standard procedure developed by the National Association of REALTORS®.
Associations of REALTORS® are charged with the responsibility of receiving and resolving ethics complaints. This obligation is carried out by local, regional and state grievance committees and professional standards committees.
Many “complaints” received by associations do not expressly allege violations of specific Articles of the Code of Ethics, and many do not detail conduct related to the Code. Some “complaints” are actually transactional, technical, or procedural questions readily responded to.
Role of ombudsmen
The ombudsman’s role is primarily one of communication and conciliation, not adjudication. Ombudsmen do not determine whether ethics violations have occurred, rather they anticipate, identify, and resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into disputes and possible charges of unethical conduct. All ECAR ombudsman are thoroughly familiar with the Code of Ethics, state real estate regulations, and current real estate practice.
Involving the ombudsman
Persons filing complaints, or inquiring about the process for filing ethics complaints, will be advised that ombudsman services are available to attempt to informally resolve their complaint. Such persons will also be advised that they may decline ombudsman services and can have their complaint referred to ethics mediation (if available), or considered at a formal ethics hearing.
If the complainant elects to use an ombudsman, one of the ombudsmen is assigned to the matter by the Chief Executive Officer. Ombudsmen can field and respond to a wide variety of inquiries and complaints, including general questions about real estate practice, transaction details, ethical practice, and enforcement issues. Ombudsmen can also receive and respond to questions and complaints about members; can contact members to inform them that a client or customer has raised a question or issue; and can contact members to obtain information necessary to provide an informed response.
To watch a 5 video series from NAR about how the ombudsman program works, click here.
To file a complaint, contact John Bolduc, Chief Executive Officer by phone at 860-892-2595 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org