NAR Amends Code of Ethics to Refer to ‘Disability’ Instead of ‘Disability’

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The highest governing bodies of the 1.6 million members National Association of Realtors have modified the Real estate agent’s code of ethics replace references to “handicap” with “handicap”.

NAR’s board of directors, which has 1,030 members, and NAR’s delegated body, which has 643 members, met in separate meetings on Monday, the last day of NAR Annual conference, NAR NXT, at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida. The delegated body only meets when changes to the NAR constitution and/or estate agent code of ethics are under consideration.

Prior to the meetings, the NAR Professional Standards Committee proposed that Article 10 of the code and all corresponding references to protected classes in the NAR policy and resources be changed to the term “disability”. The committee interprets the code of ethics, recommends changes to it and recommends measures for its application.

“‘Disability’ is widely considered an outdated, if not offensive, term,” the committee said in its rationale for the proposal to the board and delegates.

“While the text of the Federal Fair Housing Act still contains ‘working disability’ due to the difficulties of changing the law, federal agencies have been using ‘disability’ in its place in their regulations, policies and documents since 1992.”

NAR’s board passed the proposal by an overwhelming majority, with 814 directors of less than 900 directors present voting in favour. The delegate body also overwhelmingly approved the change, with delegates representing 1,095,516 members voting in favor and delegates representing 31,417 members voting against.

There was no discussion of the proposal on the floor before either vote. The change takes effect on January 1, 2023.

Here’s what the Section 10 revisions look like:

“Realtors shall not deny equal professional services to any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability disability, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. Realtors shall not be party to any plan or agreement to discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability disabilityfamily status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Realtors, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability disabilityfamily status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity”.

A subsection of Article 10, Standard of Practice 10-5 (also referred to as NAR Hate Speech Policy) will become: “Realtors shall not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or insults based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, marital status, national origin nationality, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The Professional Standards Committee also offered two other recommendations which the NAR Trustees approved overwhelmingly and without discussion.

The first removed the president of an association from the process of releasing an ethics complaint, response and appeal decision.

“These amendments strengthen the grievance process by removing any appearance of impropriety due to the ability of a Board Chairperson to review a complaint and response early in the grievance process while also serving on the Board. who hears an appeal or ratifies the decision of a hearing panel,” the panel stated as justification for the recommendation.

The proposal passed 843 to 19.

The second replaced the term “the listing broker” with “the seller” in Standard of Practice 3-9 of the Code of Ethics for Real Estate Agents. This section now reads:

“Estate agents must not provide access to listed properties on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker seller.”

The committee’s stated rationale for the change reads: “This amendment would simply clarify and reinforce the existing ethical obligation for the listing broker to follow the instructions of the owner or seller when establishing terms and conditions related to marketing and on the sale of the property.”

The proposal was adopted 814 against 43.

The NAR board and delegate body also overwhelmingly approved a minor amendment to the NAR constitution, both without discussion. The amendment changed the length of time a Trade Group Young Professionals Network representative sits on the NAR Finance Committee from three to two years.

The stated rationale for the change, which came from the NAR leadership team, reads: “All members of the Young Professionals Network Advisory Board receive two-year appointments, with the exception of the committee representative. Adjusting this term to match the terms of other advisory board members would create a consistent overall structure.

More than 99 percent of the members represented by the delegated body voted in favor of the change.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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