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Case Interpretation Regarding Article 3
of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics (Cooperate with Other Real Estate Professionals to Advance Client's Best Interest) Refusal to Extend Cooperation in Sale of New Homes
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.
NAR's Key Factors Lesson in
Understanding Procuring Cause
We hope you enjoyed Issue #16 of Ethics Exchange 2020 brought to you by the Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® (GMAR). The GMAR created this newsletter, each issue dedicated to a unique issue, because the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, on which our industry is built, is the foundation of what it means to be a REALTOR®.
Your proactive support of the Code of Ethics will assure your fellow REALTORS®, as well as members of the public, that every member of GMAR operates under the highest ethical standards.
Questions, comments or concerns regarding this issue can be directed to
Scott Bush at the GMAR Office (414-778-4929 or scott@gmar.ws).