California Realtors Group Publishing Ethics Violations
To educate its members about the types of behavior that violate the state's Business and Professions Code, the California Realtors Association recently began hosting a database of violations and subsequent disciplinary actions on its website.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify which disciplinary actions are included in the database and which organization is responsible for imposing them.
California real estate professionals who have been disciplined by state authorities should now expect to find themselves listed on the website of the California Association of Realtors.
CAR is publishing a database of state-imposed sanctions for violations of the California Business and Professions Code enforced by the state’s Department of Real Estate (DRE). The new policy, based on recommendations by CAR’s Ethics and Professionalism Task Force, is meant to educate realtors about the types of conduct that could threaten their licenses.
“In doing this, CAR is not making information available that couldn’t otherwise be obtained,” Bob Hunt, a former CAR director, wrote in Realty Times. California’s DRE has openly published discipline lists for some time, but CAR’s database will make the lists more accessible and easier to digest for members by providing a summary and analysis of actions taken, he added.
William Scarborough, vice president and general counsel at the Project Management Institute and current chair of ASAE’s Ethics Committee, commended CAR’s action.
“The purpose of [the database is] to allow their members to see what particular actions or what kind of conduct would put their members at risk,” Scarborough said. “That educational piece of it is very important.”
This kind of transparency is also helpful to the industry at large and the public, Scarborough added.
“Many associations would fall into the category of professional associations. In other words they’re representing a unique set of the workforce—a set of professionals who deal with the public,” he said. “The public needs to have confidence in these professionals that they’re going to act in an appropriate manner, and building that trust between a client and a professional is helpful to both.”
Still, Scarborough recommended researching what other organizations are already doing and seeking legal advice before publishing disciplinary information online.