REALTOR® A, who operated a brokerage business in many areas of the city, was also a home builder. For the homes he built, he maintained a separate sales force and consistently refused to permit other REALTORS® to show his new homes.
This practice came to the attention of an officer of the Association of REALTORS® who made a complaint which was referred to the Professional Standards Committee by the Grievance Committee.
At the hearing, the Hearing Panel asked REALTOR® A to answer charges that his policy violated Article 3 of the Code of Ethics.
REALTOR® A’s defense was that Article 3 requires REALTORS® to cooperate with other brokers “except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest.” He contended that in selling his own new homes there was no client; that he was not acting in the capacity of a broker, but as owner-seller; and that, under the circumstances, Article 3 did not apply to his marketing the houses he built.
The Hearing Panel concluded REALTOR® A’s defense was valid; that he was a principal; that Article 3 permitted him, as the builder-owner, to decide what marketing procedure would be in his best interest; and that although other REALTORS® might disagree with his decision, he was not in violation of Article 3.