Filing a Request for Arbitration

ARBITRATION

 

The following individuals may request arbitration:

 

1. REALTOR® members who are principal brokers.

2. REALTOR® members who are not the principal, provided their principal broker joins in the request.

3. Clients and customers of the REALTORS®.

How do you file a Request for Arbitration?


Follow these steps to file a Request for Arbitration:

1. Complete, sign and date the Request for Arbitration form (A-1) or (A-2 for non-REALTOR®

members) which requires you to name the REALTOR® principal in question as the “respondent(s)”. The non-principal may also be named under the principal although they are not considered a party to the arbitration but has a vested financial interest in the outcome. If you are not a REALTOR®, this form contains your commitment to abide by the decision of the Hearing Panel.


2. State the specific dollar amount that is in dispute. To proceed with arbitration, there must be a dispute between the parties that arises out of a real estate transaction and a disagreement between the parties as to entitlement to a sum of money. There are no punitive damages or actual damages that can be included in this amount.


3. Filed within 180 days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within 180 days after the facts could have been known.

 

4. Include a typed, detailed explanation of the situation. Clearly state why you believe you are entitled to some kind of award. Allegations of unethical conduct are not considered in arbitration.

If you believe there may have been an alleged ethics violation, you must file this in a separate ethics complaint. Please include the date you became aware their was a potential problem.

5. Attach legible copies of any pertinent documents or information to support your claim such as listing agreements, sales and purchase contracts, closing statements, letters, phone and contact logs, or any other relevant information. Please make sure that your documentation is pertinent, eadable, and executed (if applicable).

6. Include an arbitration filing fee of $500. 

7. Send the entire package (marked CONFIDENTIAL) to BARAs Certified Professional Standards Administrator.

8. If the Grievance Committee forwards the arbitration to a hearing, both parties are offered mediation prior to setting a date for the hearing. Any mediation decision made is a mutual decision of the parties and only binding if signed by both parties. Many arbitration cases are settled at this stage. 


What authority does BARA have in arbitration?


1. Arbitration may be voluntary or mandatory for REALTOR® members.

Mandatory:

  • Principal Broker vs. Principal Broker
  • Client vs. Principal Broker
  • Non-principal vs. Non-principal – Principal Brokers enjoined

Voluntary:

  • Customer vs. Broker
  • Broker vs. Broker – from the same office
  • Broker vs. non-REALTOR® Member Broker.


2. An arbitration award may not be more than the amount in dispute. No actual or punitive damages can be included.


3. If litigation is pending in connection with the same transaction, no arbitration can be provided unless the litigation is withdrawn with notice to the Association, or unless the court refers the matter to the Association  for arbitration.

4. By becoming and remaining a member of BARA, each REALTOR® member binds themselves to arbitration certain types of disputes.

 

How are ethics and arbitration cases processed?


The Grievance Committee and the Professional Standards Committee handle these matters. It is the responsibility of the Complainant to provide the necessary information to prove their case, as the Association does not act as an investigative body.

The entire ethics or arbitration process usually takes a minimum of 70 – 90 days, but it may take longer.Please remember that the overriding principle governing either type of case is the assurance of due process to all parties.

Role of the Grievance Committee:

1. If an Ethics complaint is filed, the Grievance Committee will review the complaint to determine if the facts alleged were taken as true on their face, is it possible that a violation of the Code of Ethics occurred and if a hearing is to be warranted.

2. If Arbitration is filed, the Grievance Committee will review the complaint to determine if the matter is properly “arbitrable” as defined in Article 17 of the Code of Ethics and if a hearing is to be warranted.

3. The Grievance Committee makes only such preliminary evaluation as necessary to make these decisions. While the Grievance Committee has meetings, it does not hold hearings, and it does not decide whether members have violated the Code of Ethics or determine awards.

4. The function of the Grievance Committee is to be understood as similar to that of the grand jury. If a Grievance Committee forwards a complaint for hearing, a response is then received from the respondent and a hearing scheduled.

5. If denied by the Grievance Committee, the complainant has twenty days from the date of notice to appeal the decision to the Board of Director of BARA.

Role of the Professional Standards Committee:


1. The committee’s function is to hold ethics and arbitration hearings. Hearings provide an opportunity for the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) to explain their sides of the story by presenting relevant testimony, evidence and witnesses, if any. Professional Standards Committee members are selected on the basis of their experience, temperament, impartiality, and objectivity and are required to take on-going professional standards training.

2. Once an ethics complaint is forwarded by the Grievance Committee to a hearing, a panel consisting of 5 members and 1 alternate of the Professional Standards Committee will determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated.

3. For arbitration, after an unsuccessful mediation or if the parties choose not to try mediation, a panel of 5 members and 1 alternate of the Professional Standards Committee will determine the prevailing party and the award.

Role of the BARA Staff:

1. Throughout the ethics or arbitration process, BARA’s Certified Professional Standards Administrator is responsible for maintaining the confidential case files and ensuring that paperwork, notifications, correspondence, and other due process functions are prepared correctly.

2. The Certified Professional Standards Administrator is NOT a licensed real estate practitioner, nor is she allowed to give legal or other advice or counsel you on your case. Should you have questions regarding the process, she would be pleased to provide that procedural information.