Several changes to the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and the procedures used by Texas REALTORS® to enforce the Code went into effect January 1:
- The word disability replaces the word handicap in Article 10 of the Code of Ethics, which prohibits REALTORS® from denying equal professional services to any person based on certain protected classes, including persons with disabilities. The change also affects applicable Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.
- Standard of Practice 3-9 was revised to clarify that the owner or the seller of a property, not the listing broker, sets the terms in which listed property may be accessed.
- A definition of real estate professional was drafted for purposes of Article 15 of the Code of Ethics, which prohibits REALTORS® from making false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices. Real estate professionals are those engaged in the real estate disciplines listed under Article 11: residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.
- The Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual was revised to clarify that only REALTOR® principals may invoke the arbitration services of the association when involved in a compensation dispute with another REALTOR®. REALTOR® non-principals (sponsored sales agents and broker associates) can participate in an arbitration hearing, but they cannot file for arbitration and they are not considered parties to the dispute.