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Membership Qualification Criteria for REALTOR® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® Applicants That are Non-principals

Applicants for REALTOR® membership who are other than sole proprietors, partners, corporate officers or branch office managers of a real estate firm; or applicants for REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® membership may be required to supply satisfactory evidence that they have:

1. A VALID REAL ESTATE LICENSE (AND ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE REAL ESTATE BUSINESS AND ITS RECOGNIZED BRANCHES)

Explanation: "A valid real estate license" is intended to mean that applicants for REALTOR® Membership who are other than sole proprietors, partners, corporate officers or branch office managers in a firm engaged in the real estate business must maintain a current, valid real estate broker's or salesperson's license or must be licensed or certified by an appropriate state regulatory agency to engage in the appraisal of real property.

The term "actively engaged" in business contemplates that the licensed or certified applicants will have an office for the conduct of real estate business and shall hold themselves out to the public as being actively engaged in the real estate business, and shall actively seek and service real estate business. It does not contemplate that applicants must devote all or even a majority of their time to the real estate business or derive any particular percentage of their income from such business. It does not contemplate that applicants shall have no other job or occupation.

Where question arises as to whether or not applicants are "actively engaged" in the real estate business, they shall be given the opportunity to present evidence concerning the actual and intended scope of their business activities. In the event any applicant for membership is rejected on the basis of failure to be "actively engaged," the Board should promptly seek a declaratory judgment from a court of competent jurisdiction affirming the propriety of such rejection.

2. EMPLOYED BY OR AFFILIATED WITH A REALTOR® AS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

Explanation: The basic qualification is employment or affiliation with a REALTOR®. The qualification is met by individuals regardless of whether they operate out of the principal office of the REALTOR® or a branch office.

3. NO RECORD OF OFFICIAL SANCTIONS INVOLVING UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

Qualification: “No record of official sanctions involving unprofessional conduct” is intended to mean that the Board may consider:

  1. judgments against the applicant within the past three (3) years of violations
    1. civil rights laws;
    2. real estate license laws;
    3. or other laws prohibiting unprofessional conduct rendered by the courts or other lawful authorities
  2. criminal convictions if
    1. the crime was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year under the law under which the applicant was convicted; and
    2. no more than ten years have elapsed since the date of the conviction or the release of the applicant from the confinement imposed for that conviction, whichever is the later date.

4. MUST MAKE WRITTEN APPLICATION FOR REALTOR® OR REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® MEMBERSHIP IN THE BOARD

(Such application must be a voluntary act by applicants, and cannot be a requirement of the Board.)

Explanation: The Board may not require that salespersons affiliated with a REALTOR® be Members of the Board. Neither can the Board require that the REALTOR® have such a requirement.

5. MEMBERSHIP FILE

Qualification: Associations may, at their discretion, consider the following in determining an applicant's qualifications for membership:

  1. All final findings of Code of Ethics violations and violations of other membership duties in any other association within the past three (3) years
  2. Pending ethics complaints (or hearings)
  3. Unsatisfied discipline pending
  4. Pending arbitration requests (or hearings)
  5. Unpaid arbitration awards or unpaid financial obligations to any other association or association MLS
  6. Any misuse of the term REALTOR or REALTORS in the name of the applicant’s firm

"Provisional" membership may be granted in instances where ethics complaints or arbitration requests (or hearings) are pending in other associations or where the applicant for membership has unsatisfied discipline pending in another association (except for violations of the Code of Ethics, see note below) provided all other qualifications for membership have been satisfied. Associations may reconsider the membership status of such individuals when all pending ethics and arbitration matters (and related discipline) have been resolved or within six months from the date that provisional membership is approved if such matters have not been resolved. Provisional members shall be considered REALTORS® (or REALTOR-ASSOCIATES®, if applicable) and shall be subject to all of the same privileges and obligations of REALTOR® or REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® membership.

If a member resigns from another association with an ethics complaint or arbitration request pending, the association may condition membership on the applicant's certification that he/she will submit to the pending ethics or arbitration proceeding (in accordance with the established procedures of the association to which applicant has made application) and will abide by the decision of the hearing panel.

NOTE: Article IV, Section 2, of the NAR Bylaws prohibits Member Boards from knowingly granting REALTOR or REALTOR-ASSOCIATE membership to any applicant who has an unfulfilled sanction pending which was imposed by another Board or Association of REALTORS for violation of the Code of Ethics.

6. SIGNIFIED THEIR INTENTION TO ABIDE BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® CODE OF ETHICS

7. SIGNIFIED THEIR INTENTION TO ABIDE BY THE CONSTITUTION, BYLAWS, POLICY AND RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE LOCAL BOARD, THE STATE ASSOCIATION, AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Explanation: By such agreement in the application, applicants assume a continuing membership obligation.

8. COMPLETED THE BOARD INDOCTRINATION COURSE

Explanation: It is presumed that the Indoctrination Course to be completed as a prerequisite for membership is confined to the subjects of the Constitution, Bylaws, policies, rules and regulations of the local Board, State Association, and the National Association as well as the Code of Ethics of the National Association. It is not contemplated that completion of the Indoctrination Course covering topics included in the licensing examination will be required for qualification.

9. ASSOCIATIONS MAY REQUIRE THAT APPLICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP SUBMITTED BY NON-PRINCIPAL BROKERS, SALES LICENSEES, AND LICENSED OR CERTIFIED APPRAISERS BE "ACKNOWLEDGED" BY A REALTOR® WHO IS A SOLE PROPRIETOR, PARTNER, CORPORATE OFFICER, OR BRANCH OFFICE MANAGER OF THE FIRM.

Important Note to Member Boards:

When a Board declines to accept an applicant on the basis of failure to satisfy Point 1 (actively engaged) and/or Point 3. (no record of official sanctions involving unprofessional conduct), it is recommended that the Board seek a declaratory judgment in the civil courts, affirming its decision.

Board legal counsel will advise as to the proper form and procedures in seeking a declaratory judgment. A sample form which may be used for this purpose is included in the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual. No petition should be prepared except by Board legal counsel.

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