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2012 Summary of Key Membership Policy Changes

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This summary highlights substantive issues and changes, but is not all-inclusive. For complete information detailing all changes see the 2011 Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee Actions for Midyear and the Annual Convention on the Board Policy and Programs website (http://realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/comnameweb).

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Changes to the NAR Model Bylaws for Local Member Boards (all types)
(underscoring indicates additions):

  • Article VII, Section 2 of the Model Board Bylaws, be amended as follows:

Section 1. The responsibility of the association and of association members relating to the enforcement of the Code of Ethics, the disciplining of members, and the arbitration of disputes, and the organization and procedures incident thereto shall be governed by the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the association*, as from time to time amended, which by this reference is made a part of these Bylaws.

*It is recommended that Member Boards adopt the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, as amended from time to time, and as adapted to be consistent with applicable state law. While Member Boards are not required to adopt the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, verbatim, any procedures adopted must be substantively consistent with the policies set forth in that Manual (e.g., arbitration must be conducted within the parameters established by the Professional Standards Committee of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and as specified in Section 44 of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the National Association, provided the procedures are consistent with state law). Refer to the option below.

Option for adoption of the National Association's Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual under Section 1. If the association opts to comply with state law and adopts and incorporates into its Bylaws the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, as recommended, then the following language for Article VII, Section 1 must be adopted:

Section 1. The responsibility of the association and of association members relating to the enforcement of the Code of Ethics, the disciplining of members, and the arbitration of disputes, and the organization and procedures incident thereto, shall be governed by the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, as amended from time to time, which is by this reference incorporated into these Bylaws, provided, however, that any provision deemed inconsistent with state law shall be deleted or amended to comply with state law.

Section 2. It shall be the duty and responsibility of every REALTOR® member of this association to abide by the Constitution and Bylaws and the rules and regulations of the association, the Constitution and Bylaws of the State Association, the Constitution and Bylaws of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, and to abide by the Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, including the duty to arbitrate controversies arising out of real estate transactions as specified by Article 17 of the Code of Ethics, and as further defined and in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of this association, as from time to time amended.

Alternate Section 2 for associations that require members to mediate otherwise-arbitrable disputes.

Section 2. It shall be the duty and responsibility of every REALTOR® member of this association to abide by the Constitution and Bylaws and the rules and regulations of the association, the Constitution and Bylaws of the State Association, the Constitution and Bylaws of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, and to abide by the Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, including the duty to mediate and arbitrate controversies arising out of real estate transactions as specified by Article 17 of the Code of Ethics, and as further defined and in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of this association, as from time to time amended.

(Note: Associations adopting Alternate Section 2 should also adopt the shaded amendments to Article IV, Section 1(a)(5); Article V, Section 1(a); and Article VI, Section 5(a) found in the 2012 NAR Model Bylaws for Local Member Boards.)

Optional Section 3. for cooperative enforcement of the Code of Ethics: Associations must enter into cooperative enforcement agreements, consistent with Professional Standards Policy Statement 40: Cooperative Enforcement Agreements. To reflect that the association has entered into such an agreement, Article VII should be amended to include the following, additional section.

Section 3. The responsibility of the association and association members relating to the enforcement of the Code of Ethics, the disciplining of members, the arbitration of disputes, and the organization and procedures incident thereto, shall be consistent with the cooperative professional standards enforcement agreement entered into by the association, which by this reference is made a part of these Bylaws.

Other Membership Policy Changes (underscoring indicates additions)

  • That item # 7 of the Organizational Standards Criteria be amended as follows, and that the Organizational Standards Certification Form be updated accordingly

Enforcement of the Code of Ethics

Association maintains a viable professional standards process to enforce the Code of Ethics and provide arbitration as a member service. Boards and associations must have a fully functioning professional standards committee with administrative capability to conduct the program, or must administer professional standards enforcement through a multi-board (or regional) professional standards agreement with other associations or the state association.

Enforcement of the Code of Ethics includes administration and enforcement of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics Training Requirement.

  • That the following section of the Procedure for Approving Names of Member Boards and Associations be amended as follows:

Mediation is strongly encouraged as a means of resolving disputes involving association names. Following receipt of the applicant association's response and request for a hearing all objections to a name application, the National Association shall provide the parties applicant association and objecting association(s) with notice and instructions on requesting NAR sponsored mediation. If mediation is utilized, a mediator shall be selected from a pool of former or current members of the Membership Policy & Board Jurisdiction Committee identified by the Chair who have completed NAR’s Mediator/Mediation Training Seminar or similar mediation training. A mutually convenient time and location shall be established for the mediation. NAR will cover the mediator’s travel expenses consistent with NAR’s Member Travel Policy. This does not preclude the parties associations from continuing efforts locally or through their state association to resolve the dispute.

  • That the Procedure for Approving Names of Member Boards and Associations be amended by addition of the following provisions: (Note: The Board of Directors previously approved authority for staff to administratively approve name applications as described in the first two bullets below. The third bullet is new).

Notice of association names as provided in this procedure shall not be required in the following instances. Rather, staff shall have the authority to administratively approve such applications provided all required documentation has been submitted.

- where the only change is “Board” to “Association” (e.g. Bridgeport Board of REALTORS® to “Bridgeport Association of REALTORS®”);

 - where a commercial overlay board is deleting the term "Association/Board of REALTORS®"(or similar variation thereof) and replacing it with the term "REALTORS® Commercial Alliance", provided no other substantive change is being made (e.g. Bridgeport Commercial Association of REALTORS® to “REALTORS® Commercial Alliance of Bridgeport”;

- where the only change is deletion of the term “Board” or “Association” or similar term (e.g. Bridgeport Association of REALTORS® to “Bridgeport REALTORS®).

Additional Points of Interest:

  1. The Committee reviewed NAR's Organizational Standards Policy. This policy was adopted in 1992 to ensure that associations meet fundamental obligations as chartered Member Boards of NAR. Associations must be recertified by their respective state association every three years. An electronic certification process was implemented in 2002. State associations have the authority to recommended charter revocation of any association which is not recertified in accordance with the certification procedures. The committee discussed potential alternatives to "mandatory" recertification and concluded that the current certification process should not be changed.
  2. The committee directed staff to develop a white paper for inclusion on REALTOR.org to clarify NAR policy on Limited Function Referral Offices (LFRO).
  3. A joint work group of the Membership Policy & Board Jurisdiction Committee and Professional Standards Committee will be convened to consider whether local associations should have discretionary authority or, alternatively, be required to honor/impose discipline imposed by other associations.
  4. The committee approved a recommendation of the Alabama Association of REALTORS® to dissolve the Macon County Board of REALTORS® for failure to be certified in accordance with NAR’s Organizational Standards Policy. The Macon County Board of REALTORS® did not contest this action.
  5. A hearing panel of the committee considered a contested application for change of name.