NAR Code of Ethics Changes: Accountability for Discriminatory Speech and Conduct

Drawing a Line

Changes to the NAR Code of Ethics hold members accountable for discriminatory speech and conduct.

This past November, the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors approved recommendations from the Professional Standards Committee on the Code of Ethics’ applicability to discriminatory speech and conduct.

These changes can be grouped into three broad categories:

  1. Changes to the Code of Ethics’ applicability to a REALTOR®’s activities.
    Previously, the policy statement in the “Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual” limited the applicability of the code to real estate–related activities and transactions involving REALTORS®. As such, members could engage in conduct and speech that was discriminatory and abhorrent, but unless it could be tied to a real estate–related activity or transaction, the Code of Ethics—specifically, Article 10—did not apply. The new policy expands the Code of Ethics’ applicability to all of a REALTOR®’s activities.
  2. A new Standard of Practice 10-5.
    This provides that REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  3. Revisions to the definition of public trust.
    The definition of “public trust” was expanded to include all discrimination against protected classes under Article 10 of the Code of Ethics and all fraud, and to limit the reporting requirement to final ethics decisions involving real estate–related activities and transactions. Previously, the definition of public trust included demonstrated misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm. This revision expands the definition to include all discrimination against the protected classes under Article 10 and all fraud.

Originally written in the February 8th, 2021 issue of REALTORS®AE Magazine

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