Ethics & Arbitration

REALTORS® abide by the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics. GHAR uses the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual to administer professional standards. If you have any questions about our professional standards program, please contact Shelley Devanney, Director of Executive Services at 860-561-1800 ext. 1009 or by email.

Pathways to Professionalism

While the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association establishes objective, enforceable ethical standards governing the professional conduct of REALTORS®, it does not address issues of courtesy or etiquette. These professional courtesies are intended to be used by REALTORS® on a voluntary basis, and cannot form the basis for a professional standards complaint.

Ombuds Program

Ombuds for REALTORS® – The Ombuds Program in its simplest definition is informal telephone mediation. In some cases it can address and solve minor complaints from the public. It can also solve inter-REALTOR® conflicts before they become serious problems. Like a mediator, an ombuds representative helps parties find solutions.


Ombuds Procedures adopted by GHAR are intended to provide enhanced communications and initial problem-solving capacity to the professional standards process. GHAR is charged with the responsibility of receiving and resolving ethics complaints, and hearing arbitration disputes filed against its’ members. An Ombuds Representative can respond to general questions regarding real estate practices, transaction details, ethical practices and enforcement issues. You can receive non-judgmental, real estate related information in a timely manner and at no cost.


Many complaints do not expressly allege violations of specific articles of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and may not concern conduct related to the Code. Some complaints are transactional, technical, and procedural questions that can be readily responded to. Some complaints are due strictly to lack of communication. These types of issues may be appropriate for the Ombuds program.



Citation Policy

In an ongoing effort to increase professionalism within the industry and potentially streamline the ethics hearing process the Greater Hartford Association of REALTORS® (GHAR) has adopted the following Citation Policy.

GHAR has a Citation Panel, comprised of individuals from the Professional Standards Committee who have a high level of experience in hearing professional standards cases. These individuals review complaints to determine eligibility for the citation program and the appropriate citations.

Complaints must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days after the facts constituting the matter complained of could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence or within one hundred eighty (180) days after the conclusion of the transaction or event, whichever is later.


Arbitration or Mediation?

One of the most important -- but perhaps least understood and appreciated -- benefits of REALTOR® membership is the dispute resolution process of mandatory arbitration between REALTOR® principals in different firms.

Simply put, the existence and availability of mandatory arbitration is what makes cooperation between real estate firms
virtually universal, and ensures payment of co-brokerage fees in many cooperative transactions each year. Connecticut is an all or nothing state. The Award is based on procuring cause and in CT, the existence of an agency agreement.

Another form of dispute resolution -- mediation -- is a potentially quicker, less cumbersome, and less confrontational alternative. Mediation affords REALTORS® the opportunity to meet in the middle and fashion their own remedy in a positive environment rather, than having a resolution unilaterally imposed in the form of an arbitration award.

If you have a commissions dispute that needs to be arbitrated or mediated, click here.


Members who wish to mediate must first file an arbitration request with the Grievance committee. If the Grievance
committee determines the matter is arbitrable, the parties can attempt to mediate some type of mutually satisfying resolution. If the mediation is successful, the cost is $100 per party which is taken out of the $500 arbitration filing fee and $400 is returned. If no resolution is made, then the parties continue to arbitration. Whoever prevails has their $500 filing
fee returned; whoever loses does not.

Benefits of Mediation

While empirical data available to the committee was scarce, anecdotal information shows that mediation:

  • clearly is less confrontational/adversarial than arbitration
  • encourages disputing parties to work amicably together to fashion mutually-acceptable solutions in a "win-win" environment
  • consumes substantially fewer volunteer, administrative, and financial resources
  • resolves the majority of disputes between REALTORS® that would otherwise require arbitration.

Who Are the Mediators?

GHAR currently has three mediators. All of them are members of the Professional Standards Committee. If mediation is requested, the parties will be assigned a mediator by the association.

  • John Herman, The Buyer’s Representative
  • Sheila Rittman, Joseph Scheyd Agency
  • Linda Byrne, Century 21 AllPoints Realty
  • Lisa Barall-Matt, Coldwell Banker Realty
  • Joyce Epstein, Joyce Epstein Realty, LLC

Procuring Cause

Procuring cause can be understood as the uninterrupted series of causal events that results in the successful transaction. In other words, what “caused” the successful transaction to come about.

Appendix I to Part Ten / Arbitrable Issues:

Appendix II to Part Ten / Arbitration Guidelines (Suggested Factors for Consideration by a Hearing Panel in Arbitration)

If you feel someone has violated the code of ethics click here.