The National Association of REALTORS® will all state and local associations to provide Ombudsman Services by January 1, 2016 pursuant to Professional Standards Policy Statement #59. According to a press release, "It is the belief of the National Association’s Professional Standards Committee that many ethics complaints might be averted with enhanced communications and initial problem-solving capacity at the local level."
The Ombuds’ role is intended to be primarily one of communication and conciliation, not adjudication. As such, Realtor Ombuds will not determine whether ethics violations have occurred, but will work to resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into disputes and possible charges of unethical conduct.
Under the new policy, local Realtor boards and associations have considerable latitude in developing criteria for service as ombudsmen. Ombuds may be Realtors, staff members, or others who are familiar with the Code of Ethics, state real estate regulations, and current real estate practice. The Ombuds will be covered through the National Association of Realtors insurance program. (NAR Statement; via BizExTeam Blog.)
Related posts: Realtor Ombuds Programs Continue to Proliferate; National Association of Realtors Will Train Ombuds at Annual Conference; California Association of Realtors Unveils Ombuds Program; Task Force Recommends Broader Use of Ombuds by REALTORS; Illinois Association of Realtors Ombuds Program Gains Traction.