• How Can I File A Complaint or Arbitration Request?

Simply contact the Association at (916) 624-8271 to speak to an Ombudsman or to request the necessary forms and procedure for your filing. Prior to making your call, we ask that you read the following Q&A:

    • Who Can File a Complaint?
      • An ethics complaint may be filed against a REALTOR® member of an Association by anyone, whether a REALTOR® member, agent or member of the public. Not all real estate licensees are REALTORS®. Only those who belong to an Association can use the term REALTOR®. By joining an Association, all members agree to abide by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics as a condition of membership. It is because of their obligation to abide by the Code of Ethics that a complaint may be filed. Please contact your Association office to determine whether the real estate agent in question is a REALTOR® member.
    • Is it an Ethics Complaint or an Arbitration Request?
      • Ethics Complaint – implies that a REALTOR® has violated an Article(s) of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Code of Ethics.
        • Arbitration – a monetary dispute arising out of a real estate transaction. If your situation concerns both ethics and arbitration, they will be handled separately. Arbitration cases are always processed prior to an ethics complaint regarding the same circumstances. Only when the arbitration is completed, will the ethics complaint be considered.
    • Have you considered discussing the matter with the agent(s), broker or considered Mediation prior to filing an Ethics Complaint or Arbitration Request?
          • Many times, issues can be resolved through simple communication. We recommend that you first contact your agent and his/her broker if you have an issue to resolve.
          • Mediation – is another resource available to provide an environment for conflict resolution. We can also handle your mediation.
          • Ombudsman – Our association can provide you with an Ombudsman who will assist you with your questions and try to help resolve your conflict prior to filing. Contact (916) 624-8271 to speak with an Ombudsman today.



  • Filing an Ethics Complaint
    1. Simply call our offices at (916)624-8271 and ask for Trista Gianna, our Professional Standards Administrator. She will be happy to connect you with an Ombudsman or to provide you with the necessary procedures and forms for filing. Once received, fax, email or mail the completed ethics complaint form or request for arbitration form, indicating the name(s) of the person/people (Respondent) that you are filing against.
    2. List the Article(s) of the Code of Ethics you think the REALTOR® has violated, using the Code supplied in the filing packet supplied by our office. In an arbitration request, Article 17 will be the only code sited.
    3. Attach an explanation of the situation surrounding the complaint. Be specific, stating what, where, when, why, and how you think the Article was violated.
    4. Attach copies of any and all pertinent documents such as listing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, addendums, etc.
    5. Return the completed filing packet to the Association office. Contact the Professional Standards Administrator or Ombudsman with any questions or concerns.
  • The Professional Standards Process
    • There are two committees of the Association that handle complaints. The Grievance Committee reviews the complaint first to determine if a hearing is needed. The Professional Standards Hearing Panel is the source to hear the complaint and render a decision.The Grievance Committee reviews complaints and determines whether the complaint has sufficient merit for further consideration. It does not determine guilt or innocence. The Grievance Committee may decide as follows:
      • Forward the case for a hearing
      • Dismiss the case if the complaint does not concern possible violation of the Code of Ethics
      • Postpone its decision, based on obtaining more information before a determination can be made
    • In the Event Your Case is Forwarded on to a Hearing
      • The Respondent will be notified and a reply requested
      • All parties will be sent a list of the Hearing Panel selected from the Professional Standards Committee along with a form to challenge any of the members serving on the hearing panel
      • All parties will be given 21 days notice of the hearing date
      • An Outline of Procedures will be included in materials sent prior to the hearingThe function of the Professional Standards hearing Panels is to hold ethics and arbitration hearings. Hearings provide an opportunity for the Complainant and the Respondent to explain “his/her side of the story” by presenting testimony and witnesses, if any. Once all the facts have been presented, the Hearing Panel will determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, or in the case of arbitration, how the dispute should be settled.



  • What the Association Can and Cannot Do
    • In the case of Ethics violations, (money damages may not be a part of an ethics proceeding) the Association may discipline REALTOR® members in one or more of the following ways:
      • Letter of warning or reprimand
      • Direct the member to attend additional ethics training
      • Place the member on probation from the Association
      • Suspend Association membership
      • Expel the member from the Association
      • Fine the member

  • Filing an Arbitration Request
  1. Contact our offices at (916) 624-8271 and ask for Trista Gianna. She will be happy to provide you with the necessary procedures and forms for filing. Once the package is received, fax, email or mail the completed Request for Arbitration form, indicating the name(s) of the person/people (Respondent) that you are filing against.
  2. Provide any and all supporting documentation relating to the arbitration dispute, including contracts, addendums, disclosures and notes necessary to substantiate your claim.
  3. Return the completed filing packet to the Association office, along with the Arbitration Filing Fee. Contact the Professional Standards Administrator or Ombudsman with any questions or concerns.

Additional Information can also be found on the California Association of REALTORS website. Click here