Is there an ethics board for real estate agents to report questionable ethics/practices to?

Asked by Anon, Santa Monica, CA Wed Sep 17, 2008

The selling agent to the house I purchased committed numerous questionable actions and I am certain they are at the very least ethical violations-- including misrepresentations, bad faith negotiations, etc. I am happy with my house, but I definitely think he needs to be reported.

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Valnes Bell Realtors’ answer
Valnes Bell…, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Thu Oct 11, 2012
It's never something we want to deal with but its an unavoidable downside to every industry. Some good advice is already posted here for you but call you local board of realtors or the CA board of realtors. If the situation is severe consider also consulting your attorney should it warrant it. Good luck with this!
1 vote
Tristam Biel…, Agent, South Pasadena, CA
Thu Apr 16, 2015
Any Realtor that is licensed is bound to a code of ethics - if they are part of a local Realtor association (almost all are), then you can submit a complant to them. You can also submit complaints to the state Bureau of Real Estate.
0 votes
I have been trying to sell my home with a "BROKER" FOR 6months in the beginning he seemed hungry and told me he would make sure I don't get taken. House went to escrow 6times fell out 6 times no reason no paperwork. When asked he said it happens all the time. June I get for closure notice he says house is In escrow, woke up by renters telling me to get out and proceed to curse me. TELL THEM IF THEY CANNT GIVE ME 10MINUTES LEAVE. They leave I go up north for employment cone home house tented 100deg day no access. Call my broker no response,call escrow nothing. FOLLOWING MONDAY I am kicked out by woman says I leave now, if u don't u don't get money. I proceed to pack 17yrs alone "wife us divorcing me" she comes later with husbNd and huge fight yelling it is her house get out ,keep in mind still trying to pack. Si I leave she tells me pick the rest up tomorrow. I return to my home wide open all doors and all appliances removed from house they show up and say I did all this .
Flag Fri Jul 10, 2015
Paige Smith, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Wed Apr 15, 2015
That sounds frustrating. Looking for a house is always a challenge, especially if you feel like the person who you are buying from seems dishonest. Maybe look into a real estate attorney?
0 votes
ptrytam, Home Buyer, Woodbridge, VA
Tue Apr 14, 2015
can an realtor assess a home if both owners did not agree to it
0 votes
Endre Barath, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Fri Dec 28, 2012
This is an interesting question I just noticed. I see no one ever responded to it. (Too bad ) I hope Anon will read this one day! There are a number of avenues buyers or sellers can take to get satisfaction: 1. they can file a complaint to the California Department of Real Estate 2. If the agent is a "Realtor" they can file a complaint to the California Association of Realtors 3. they can alway report their dissatisfaction to the Managing Broker of the Agent and 4. they can always file a legal action.

Should you have any questions or Real Estate Needs feel free to reach out to me directly:

Endre Barath,Jr.
Prudential California Realty
Beverly Hills, CA

Web Reference:
0 votes
Jodi Summers, Agent, Pacific Palisades, CA
Sun Sep 23, 2012
Anon in Santa Mon...

It is true that there are a number of sleazy agents out there, making our job more difficult.
Please contact the California Association of Realtors:
Los Angeles - Executive Office:
525 South Virgil Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020-1403
Phone: (213) 739-8200
Fax: (213) 480-7724


Jodi Summers
The SoCal Investment Real Estate Group
Sotheby's International Realty
310. 392.1211
LICENSE # - 01343854
Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. -Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt
0 votes
Sand4monde, Home Buyer, Santa Monica, CA
Sun Sep 23, 2012
My daughter has been looking for a house for the last 6 months and she has come across several scenerios of violation of the code of ethics. A few agents at open houses told her if she would use the agent at the open house as her agent she would have a better chance of getting that house. In other words the agent would benefit because she would be the sellers and buyers agent.
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Fri Oct 15, 2010
Hi Anon,
Not all agents are Realtors. Realtors are members of the state and national Realtor Associations and work under a strict code of ethics. There is the Department of Real Estate where consumer complaints may be made and will be investigated.
0 votes
Randall Sand…, Agent, Charleston, SC
Mon Dec 29, 2008
Hi Anon - Call you local board of realtors or the CA board of realtors. They will have a process for you to go through to report the person and make sure they are working to the standards set by your area. Best of luck,

Randall Sandin,
read my blog at
0 votes
., , Los Angeles, CA
Mon Dec 29, 2008
The folks here are pro's who care. Not much to add . . .see below


Article 1
When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation of absolute fidelity to the client's interests is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-3
REALTORS®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value.

Article 2
REALTORS® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. REALTORS® shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in the property, to advise on matters outside the scope of their real estate license, or to disclose facts which are confidential under the scope of agency or non-agency relationships as defined by state law. (Amended 1/00)

Standard of Practice 2-1
REALTORS® shall only be obligated to discover and disclose adverse factors reasonably apparent to someone with expertise in those areas required by their real estate licensing authority. Article 2 does not impose upon the REALTORS® the obligation of expertise in other professional or technical disciplines. (Amended 1/96)

Article 10
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. (Amended 1/90)

REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. (Amended 1/00)

Standard of Practice 10-1
REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious, or ethnic composition of any neighborhood and shall not engage in any activity which may result in panic selling. REALTORS® shall not print, display, or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to the selling or renting of a property that indicates any preference, limitations, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. (Adopted 1/94)

Article 11
The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth. (Amended 1/95)

Article 12
REALTORS® shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public. REALTORS® shall also ensure that their professional status (e.g., broker, appraiser, property manager, etc.) or status as REALTORS® is clearly identifiable in any such advertising. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 12-3
The offering of premiums, prizes, merchandise discounts, or other inducements to list, sell, purchase, or lease is not, in itself, unethical even if receipt of the benefit is contingent on listing, selling, purchasing, or leasing through the REALTOR® making the offer. However, REALTORS® must exercise care and candor in any such advertising or other public or private representations so that any party interested in receiving or otherwise benefiting from the REALTOR®'s offer will have clear, thorough, advance understanding of all the terms and conditions of the offer. The offering of any inducements to do business is subject to the limitations and restrictions of state law and the ethical obligations established by any applicable Standard of Practice. (Amended 1/95)

Article 16
REALTORS® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with the agency or other exclusive relationship recognized by law that other REALTORS® have with clients. (Amended 1/98)
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Thu Dec 4, 2008

All agents are held to a "code of ethics" that outlines unacceptable standards.

An important note is that any profession, law, medicine, education, real estate etc. is an extension of society and thaerfore carries its difficulties. This is not an excuse but an understanding that does not deminish the capacity of true professionals that hold themselves to the highest level of ethical behavior.

The local board of realtors manages the conduct of its mambers. Your best course of action therefore, is to be in touch with the local real estate board for information about how best to proceed with your concern(s).

The Eckler Team
0 votes
David, , La Jolla, CA
Thu Dec 4, 2008
I would take it as an educational experience. Im sure next time you will ask all the right questions next time.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Wed Sep 17, 2008
Each area in the US is belongs to an Association of Realtors. For example, in the Los Angeles basin the governing body is the Los Angeles Association of Realtors. (See website below).

Every Realtor is a DRE licensee, but not every DRE licensee is a REALTOR. To belong to the local, state, and National Association of REaltors http://( a person must agree to abide for a Code of Ethics. You can download a PDF of the code of ethics and read them to see if you think your Realtor is in violation. Not all agents are Realtors, however the Dept. Of Real Estate (DRE) has rules also (

DRE Licensees are required to associate their license with a broker. The broker is legally responsible for the agents' activities. The FIRST step would be to determine who the agent's broker is. You can go to and look under Consumers, then License check.

If they have a license their broker of record will be listed. I would first contact their broker and try to complain that route. The broker should "want " to help you.

If the agent is a REALTOR, you can also file a greivance with the local association of Realtors. If the claim is proven to be true the Realtor can be fined, suspended from business, or other sanctions.

Hope this is helpful.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Jodi Summers, Agent, Pacific Palisades, CA
Wed Sep 17, 2008
The California Association of Realtors is our governing body.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Ryan, , Utah
Wed Sep 17, 2008
I agree with Eric. But I also agree any bad behavior should be reported. And Eric is right they take this very seriously. Its sad that normally its not reported. I only responded to give you the site. Contact numbers are there as well.

16 years mortgage real estate exp
0 votes
Eric H. Wong , Agent, Albany, CA
Wed Sep 17, 2008
I am sorry you feel your agent gave you unethical service.
Yes, the California Department of Realtors does have a process foe lodging complaints, and they take it very seriously. Go to their web site and it will provide you with the information you need.
I would also urge you to speak with your agent's manager. This might provide you with a faster resolution to your unhappiness.
Good Luck
0 votes
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