Next year, there will be several updates to the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards that REALTORS® need to be aware of. The following changes will come into effect on January, 1st 2023:

  1. Article 10 – the word handicap will be replaced with disability. 
  2. SOP 3-9 – listing broker will be replaced with seller.  
  3. Definition of “real estate professional.” Section 1 of the Professional Standards manual has been amended to define “Real Estate Professional” as an individual engaged in the disciplines of real estate specified under Article 11 of the Code of Ethics. Those disciplines include residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate. 
  4. Limits on expedited enforcement. NAR added language to Section 20 of the Professional Standards manual, which describes an expedited ethics enforcement process. 

The new language enables Grievance Committees to refer a complaint to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing—despite a respondent’s request for expedited enforcement—if the conduct described in the complaint is sufficiently egregious and/or a potential violation of public trust. 

5. The board also modified Section 20 of the Professional Standards Manual to clarify that anonymous complaints, other than those allowed for in an association’s citation policy, are prohibited. If an association’s citation policy allows for anonymous complaints, any complaint referred for hearing must include a complainant (such as a member of the Grievance Committee) to shoulder the burden of proof. 

If you have any questions about any of these changes, please contact the Virginia REALTORS® Legal Hotline.