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Changing a Board's Jurisdiction

Below are the Requirements for Change of Jurisdictional Territory by a Member Board of the National Association of REALTORS®, including the required application form that must be filed with the Member Policy Department.

Questions concerning the jurisdiction change procedure can be directed to NAR’s Member Policy Department at 1-800-874-6500, x8399, or member_policy@realtor.org.

Requirements for Change of Jurisdictional Territory by a Member Board of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

  • General Information: There are a number of reasons why a Member Board of REALTORS® may wish to seek approval from the National Association for a change of its assigned jurisdiction. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Expansion of Board: The Board may have originally had a city or county assigned as its territorial jurisdiction and the natural growth of the Board may have created a desire for additional territory (e.g. the entire county if presently unassigned, an adjacent county if unassigned, or other adjacent unassigned territory).
  • Diminished Territory: The Board may have been assigned a territory too large for proper service and desires to release a portion of its jurisdiction.
  • City Annexation of Adjoining Property: A Board having jurisdiction of a town or city may wish to seek approval for its jurisdiction of additional territory annexed by the town or city.
  • Voluntary Release of Territory to Neighboring Board: The Board may wish to release a portion of its territory to a neighboring Board requesting it, or the Board may wish to dissolve, in which case the territory would become "unassigned" until such time as it is reassigned (in whole or in part) to another existing board or boards.
  • Involuntary Release of Territory by Reason of Application of Other Existing Board or Applicant Group: Although objecting to a certain application by another group, a change of jurisdiction of a Member Board will result if the decision for reassignment is ultimately made by the National Association in its hearing and consideration of a dispute.

Administrative Instructions for Processing an Application for Change of Jurisdiction

A Member Board that desires to change its jurisdiction must complete an Application for Change of Jurisdiction and submit it along with other required documents to the National Association for consideration. The Board shall also forward a copy of the application (and supporting materials) to the State Association for its information. If the proposed change of jurisdiction is "uncontested" and the file of supporting materials is complete, the change of jurisdiction shall be administratively approved and NAR's jurisdiction records shall be updated accordingly. The applicant Association and State Association shall be notified in writing following final approval. "Contested" applications for change of jurisdiction shall be referred to Hearing Panels of the Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee in accordance with these provisions. State Associations shall be notified in all instances where a change of jurisdiction has been approved by the National Association (either administratively or through a contested hearing process).

The following documents are required to be submitted with the Application for Change of Jurisdiction:

Unassigned Territory

A Member Board seeking "unassigned" territory is required to confirm with the State and/or National Association the availability of such territory. If the territory is "unassigned", the Member Board must:

  • Complete the Application for Change of Jurisdiction including a written description of the new territorial jurisdiction resulting from the change in jurisdiction.
  • Submit a map sufficiently detailed to clearly indicate the present territory of the association, the "unassigned" territory requested (and all associations contiguous thereto), outlining each in contrasting color.
  • Provide letters to all associations that are contiguous to the requested territory, and all Designated REALTORS® (principals) with offices in the requested territory, advising of the proposed change of territorial jurisdiction. The purpose of this notice is to determine if there are objections to the application or competing claims for the territory by other associations. Associations (and Designated REALTOR® principals) shall have reasonable time to respond to the notice (not less than 45 days) and copies of all notices (and any replies) shall be submitted with the application.

Disputes Regarding Unassigned Territory: If there are objections to the application by other associations; competing claims for the territory by other associations; or if a majority of the Designated REALTORS® (principals) in the unassigned territory object to the application; all parties shall have the opportunity to appear before a Hearing Panel of the National Association's Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee to present their respective positions. The duration, nature, scope and conduct of any hearing shall be within the discretion of the Chairman. Committee staff shall advise all parties in advance of the date, time and place of the hearing and the procedures to be followed at the hearing. In no event shall the Committee be required to conduct a hearing unless it has received the complete written file at least forty-five (45) days prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee.

Mediation is strongly encouraged as a preliminary means of resolving disputes involving unassigned territory. The National Association shall provide the parties 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 from continuing efforts locally or through their state association to resolve the dispute.

Note: To access list of available mediators go to: http://realtor.org/pstmrsrc.nsf/mediatename?Openview

In the event of a hearing by the Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee, all parties may submit a written statement and supporting documentation of up to thirty (30) pages to support their request or objection. Written statements should contain only that information relevant to the National Association’s consideration of the dispute. Parties to the dispute should make every effort to avoid submitting information that is extraneous or irrelevant. Parties are strongly encouraged, but not required, to have representatives at jurisdiction hearings. Speakers shall be limited to current association members, association staff, and legal counsel. In hearings involving objections to an application for unassigned territory, the burden of proof shall be on the applicant association to establish that the disputed area would be better served if assigned to the association. In hearings involving competing claims for unassigned territory the burden shall be on applicant associations to establish that the disputed area would be better served if assigned to the applicant association and that the applicant association is best qualified to provide those services. The following is a list of factors that may be considered by a hearing panel. This list is not all inclusive and is intended to guide panels as to the facts, issues, questions and other considerations that may facilitate their reaching fair, equitable and reasoned decisions. These factors should be carefully considered by parties preparing written materials and oral presentations for hearing panels.

  1. What is the association’s “service area” (i.e., the geographical area encompassing members’ offices, and the offices of other REALTOR® firms who purchase association services without holding membership locally under Board of Choice)?

    (An area shall not be deemed to be part of an association’s service area unless applicant demonstrates that a reasonable number of member offices or other offices of REALTOR® firms who purchase association services are located in that area.)
  2. To what extent does the association represent real estate interests in the unassigned area.?
  3. Is the unassigned area naturally aligned with the association’s common service area? Are there natural boundaries separating the association from the unassigned area (e.g., rivers, lakes, mountain range, etc.) Is the unassigned area viewed as being more closely aligned with a particular association because of boundaries such as political districts, school districts, area codes, etc. ?
  4. What type of real estate comprises the unassigned area? Does this differ from the basic make up of the remaining association territory?
  5. How will REALTORS® and potential members in the unassigned territory be better served? Do a majority of REALTORS® (principals) in the requested area support the application?

The hearing panel may approve the application for change of jurisdiction in whole or in part or may deny approval of the application in which case the territory will remain unassigned. The decision of the Hearing Panel will be final, except that either party may file a request for procedural review of the decision to the NAR Board of Directors based only on alleged procedural deficiencies or other irregularities the party believes constitutes a deprivation of due process. Requests for procedural review shall be considered in accordance with the procedure established by the Board of Directors. For more information on requesting a procedural review, click here.

Jurisdiction hearings are not “legal” proceedings or “trials” ;and are not subject to the customary rules applicable to judicial proceedings such as rules of evidence or cross examination of the other associations’ presenters.

The Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee shall not consider a contested application for change of jurisdiction involving unassigned territory if, within a period of two (2) years prior to the date the application is received, the committee has denied an application from the same association for the same territory.

Release or Addition of Territory

When an existing Member Board releases a portion of its territory to another existing Board or to form a proposed new Member Board, this changes the existing Member Board's territorial jurisdiction and the existing Member Board is required to:

  • Complete an Application for Change of Jurisdiction form including a written description of the new territorial jurisdiction resulting from the change in jurisdiction.
  • Submit a map sufficiently detailed to clearly indicate the present assigned territory and the territory being released, outlining each in contrasting colors.
  • Submit a description of the released territory. The description of the released territory should be dated and signed by the President of the releasing Member Board.

Note: When an existing Member Board releases a portion of its territory to another existing Member Board, either voluntarily or involuntarily, this changes the territorial jurisdiction of both Boards and both Member Boards must submit all items listed above.

Clarification of Boundaries

When an existing Member Board submits a "clarification" of its boundaries (i.e., a restatement of its territorial jurisdiction with no substantive change in assigned territory), the Member Board is required to:

  • Complete an Application for Change of Jurisdiction form including a written description of the new territorial jurisdiction resulting from the change in jurisdiction.
  • Provide notice to all contiguous associations to determine if there are any objections to the proposed clarification of boundaries. Associations shall have a reasonable time to respond (not less than 45 days) and copies of all notices (and any replies) shall be submitted with the application.

Contested Application for Change of Jurisdiction

When a Member Board seeks assignment of additional territory presently assigned to another Member Board, or when an applicant group seeks formation of a new Member Board partially within the assigned jurisdiction of an existing board or boards, and the existing Member Board having jurisdiction is unwilling to relinquish the requested territory, this causes the Application for Change of Jurisdiction to be a "Contested Application" and must be handled as set forth in the Contested Application Procedures. Click here for the Contested Application Procedures.

Local Board Checklist

  • Application for Change of Jurisdiction form completed and signed by local Board President and Secretary, where applicable.
  • Map of proposed jurisdiction and adjoining Boards in contrasting color.
  • Copy of letters to all associations that are contiguous to the requested territory and all Designated REALTORS® (principals) with offices in the requested territory, advising of the proposed jurisdiction change, and copies of any replies. (This requirement applies only to applications involving "unassigned" territory).
  • All written materials related to a dispute regarding unassigned territory or a "contested" application for change of jurisdiction must be received by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® at least forty-five (45) days prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee.
  • Multi-State Jurisdiction: An application for change of jurisdiction which will result in a local association having assigned territorial jurisdiction in more than one state must include any agreement between affected state associations concerning state membership for REALTOR® members of that local association. Where there is no agreement to the contrary between affected state associations, current NAR policy provides that REALTORS® holding primary membership will hold state membership in the state association where their office is located. Applicant associations are encouraged to discuss and resolve this issue with affected state associations at the earliest opportunity. A copy of the agreement between state associations or, alternatively, written notification that no agreement exists must be included with the application for change of jurisdiction. (04/98)
  • Minutes: A copy of the minutes from the General Membership or Board of Directors meeting authorizing the change of jurisdiction must be submitted.

Revised 11/15/2002 and 11/11/2010

Required Application Form for Change of Jurisdiction