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Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors®

Professional Standards      

Ethics complaints and arbitration requests

REALTORS® are different from non-member licensees in that they voluntarily subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics. If you believe that a REALTOR® has violated one or more Articles of the Code of Ethics, you can file an ethics complaint alleging a violation(s) through the local association of REALTORS® where the REALTOR® holds membership, or participates in a REALTOR® association-owned/operated MLS.

In addition, REALTORS® agree as a condition of membership to arbitrate contractual disputes and specific non-contractual disputes as provided for in Article 17 of the NAR Code of Ethics.

If you believe that a REALTOR®-member of the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® (GCAAR) acted unethically in a real estate transaction, you may address the issue through GCAAR.  If you are not sure if your REALTOR is a GCAAR member, you may search for a member's local affiliation here.

Ombuds Program

The ombuds process is the first step to resolve ethics complaints and requests for arbitration. This is a free service offered by GCAAR and is often a faster path to resolution than the formal complaint process.  Participation in the ombuds process is optional and if the issue is not resolved through an ombudsperson you can still file an Ethics Complaint if you meet the time limitation requirements.  More information on the ombudsperson process can be found here.

An ombudsperson is an individual appointed to receive and resolve disputes through constructive communication and advocating for consensus and understanding. This process can be used for ethics complaints and arbitration requests.

The ombudsman’s role is primarily one of communication and conciliation, not adjudication. Ombudsmen do not determine whether ethics violations have occurred or who is entitled to what amount of money, rather they anticipate, identify, and resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into disputes and possible charges of unethical conduct.

To request ombudsperson service, please complete this form.

Filing an ethics complaint

Should the ombuds process not resolve your issue, you may file an ethics complaint with GCAAR.  Before you file an ethics complaint, please read this or see the process diagram.

  1. Complete the Ethics Complaint form (E-1).
  2. Submit a signed and dated statement of complaint and any additional documentation.

Your complaint will be reviewed by the Grievance Committee to determine if the allegations made, if taken as true, might support a violation of the Article(s) cited in the complaint.  If the Grievance Committee believes the complaint involves a potential violation, the next step is a hearing before a panel of the Professional Standards Committee. Learn more about the process. 

Filing a SentriLock complaint

If you believe a violation of the SentriLock Rules and Regulations occurred, you may file a SentriLock complaint with GCAAR.

In certain situations, the Ombudgs program can be utilized to dispute. Should the ombuds process not resolve your issue, filing a SentriLock complaint is the next step.

To file a SentriLock Complaint, you must:

The Grievance Committee will review the Complaint and decide if a violation of the sections of the Rules and Regulations for the SentriLock Lockbox System listed in the complaint occurred and whether the conduct is subject to citation.

Filing a request for arbitration

Should the ombuds process not resolve your issue, you may file an arbitration request with GCAAR.  For more information, see the process diagram.

  1. Complete the Request and Agreement to Arbitrate form (A-1)
  2. Submit the $500 administrative fee.

The first step is a voluntary mediation. Should mediation be unsuccessful, the Grievance Committee will review the arbitration request. 

Please note GCAAR cannot:

  • Process complaints dealing with real estate law
  • Revoke or suspend a real estate license
  • Assist with release of earnest money deposits
  • Award money to a Complainant if a violation of the Code of Ethics is found

Questions? Email