Resolve a Dispute
When a dispute arises with a licensee, the Association offers many options to help in finding a resolution.
If you have a complaint against a licensee, the first step is to speak to their broker to see if the issue can be resolved. If that is unsuccessful, two avenues exist to resolve your dispute:
1. You may file a complaint with the New Jersey Real Estate Commission. NJREC will investigate, and if violations against the license law are found, they can impose sanctions. Learn about their resolution process.
2. You may file a complaint (a request to arbitrate and or an Ethics complaint) through NEXUS. This option is only available if the real estate licensee is a REALTOR® member. NEXUS does not determine if license law has been violated. Associations sanctions are most often educational but can include fines and suspension from the association.
Learn more below about:
1. NEXUS Complaint Process
2. How to File an Ethics Complaint
3. How to File an Arbitration Request
4. Ombudsman Services
Processing a Complaint
1. The complaint (a request to arbitrate or an Ethics complaint) comes to the Professional Standards Administrator for processing.
2. The Grievance Committee then receives the ethics complaint or arbitration request to determine if, taken as true on its face, a hearing is warranted. The Grievance Committee makes only such preliminary evaluations as is necessary to make these decisions.
Such a review could result in releasing Association members from their obligation to arbitrate. This would free you to seek other recourse in order to resolve the dispute.
3. If the Grievance Committee determines that a matter is arbitrable, it will forward the complaint for a hearing. They will also notify the parties that a mediation procedure is available as a preliminary, voluntary alternative to arbitration. If the Committee forwards the complaint for a hearing, it is assigned to the Professional Standards Committee.
You may appeal a dismissal of an arbitration request to the Executive Committee. The Directors review the information and can uphold or overturn the Grievance Committee's decision.
Ethics and Arbitration Hearings
1. The Professional Standards Committee holds ethics and arbitration hearings. If no one has requested the Respondent(s) reply to your complaint, he/she/they will be at this time. A hearing will then be scheduled, and all parties will be notified of the hearing's date, time and place. The hearings provide an opportunity for the Complainant and the Respondent to explain his or her side of the story by presenting testimony and witnesses, if any.
2. Once all the facts have been presented, a Hearing Panel, consisting of members of the Professional Standards Committee will determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, or, in the case of an arbitration, how the dispute should be settled.
The Association will inform you about each step of this process as it occurs. The Association will also give you instructions about the hearing procedures prior to the hearing. The entire process will usually take a minimum of 60 days but may take longer.
How to File an Arbitration Request – for REALTORS®
2. Indicate the amount in dispute.
3. Include an explanation of the situation surrounding the complaint. State why you feel you are entitled to an award of some kind. Remember, don't include unethical allegations in your argument. If you think the REALTOR®(s) violated the Code of Ethics, the Association can handle this separately through an ethics complaint. [link to ethics below]
4. Attach 15 copies of all pertinent documents such as listing agreements, purchase and sales agreements, closing statements, etc. Also, include any notarized statements you may have from witnesses.
5. Include a $500 deposit with your arbitration request. The prevailing party in an arbitration will receive their $500 back from the Association.
How to File an Ethics Complaint
2. List the Article(s) of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics that you think the REALTOR® violated. (The Association will also supply you with a copy of the Code of Ethics).
3. Attach an explanation of the situation surrounding the complaint. Be as specific as possible. State what, when, where, why and how you think the REALTOR®(s) violated each Article.
4. Attach 15 copies of any and all pertinent documents such as listing agreements, addendums, etc. If you have notarized statements from witnesses, include those also.
An ombudsman is an individual appointed to receive and resolve disputes through constructive communication and advocating for consensus and understanding.
They do not determine if license or ethics violations have occurred. Rather, they anticipate, identify and resolve misunderstandings before they develop into disputes and possible charges of unethical conduct.
Ombudsman procedures are intended to provide enhanced communications and initial problem-solving capacity at the local level.
All associations must provide ombudsman services to their members and members' clients and customers consistent with Professional Standards Policy Statement #59, Associations to Provide Ombudsmen Services, Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.
Read more at the National Association of REALTORS® service pages.
Mediation is a form of facilitated negotiation in which an impartial third-party attempt to help disputing parties reach a mutually satisfactory solution to their problems. Mediation is voluntary for both parties, either of which can end mediation at any time and choose to follow the formal ethics complaint or arbitration request procedure, and parties are not required to accept any resolution proposed in mediation. Additionally, any proposed resolution in mediation may not be used in the formal process later. NEXUS Association of REALTORS® offers our members and their clients and customers the opportunity to use mediation to resolve conflicts. We ensure the process is fair, flexible, and confidential.
There are numerous benefits to choosing mediation. Since the mediation process is collaborative, not adversarial, it can help resolve issues while preserving positive relationships between all parties. Additionally, mediation often takes far less time and money than a formal litigation and also allows the parties themselves to craft a solution they can live with. This is opposed to a formal arbitration, in which a hearing panel’s decision is binding on the parties.
The goal of a successful mediation is to have both parties come to a mutual agreement in writing upon the mediation’s conclusion. Once the agreement is signed, parties are legally bound to abide by its terms.