What is the Code of Ethics?
A Code of Ethics offers a guide of principles and regulations on how professionals are expected to behave and conduct their business, including real estate business, with honesty, integrity, and professionalism. The ethical principles may contain the business or organization’s core values, missions, standards, problem solving and sanction, to guide a business’s operations.
Many laws exist to set basic standards, however, businesses themselves develop their own Code of Ethics to cover employer-to-employee relations, discrimination, bribery, insider trading, and etc. Business management staff set ethical standards for their employees to follow without regard to size of businesses. When administrators follow the Code of Ethics, it sends a message that compliance is expected from all employees. Breaking these ethical principles can lead to termination from the organization.
Why is it important?
SODA.RED follows the guidelines in its Code of Ethics to ensure a reliable and professional service, and expect our members to follow the guidelines listed within. Following these guidelines distinguishes SODA.RED’s members from other real estate agents by offering a guarantee of high level of business conduct. Professional standards are ensured by following the policies, and its use is critical for insurance and litigation purposes. Violating the Code of Ethics can result in membership termination.
What does the Code of Ethics for SODA.RED’s members consist of?
For SODA.RED’s members, the Code of Ethics, adopted from the National Association of REALTORS® offers the standards of practice to conduct a business with moral as follows:
Part One — DUTIES TO CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS
- Article 1 – When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, members pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, however, it is obligated for members to treat all parties honestly.
- Article 2 – Members will maintain a high level of truth relating to the property or transaction. This does not obligate members to discover defects in the property, advise outside of their real estate license or disclose confidential information.
- Article 3 – Members shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate another broker may depend on negotiations or requirements with members on SODA.RED.
- Article 4 – Members shall not present properties to clients that they have a personal stake in without making their position apparent to the client, for example, a property owned by the member of their family members or owned by organisations they are part of. They must reveal their own interest or ownership in the property to any purchaser.
- Article 5 – Members shall not undertake to provide professional services concerning a property or its value where they have a present or contemplated interest unless such interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.
- Article 6 – Members shall not accept any commission, rebate, or profit on expenditures made for their client, without the client’s knowledge and consent. When recommending real estate products or services, for example, mortgage financing, members must disclose any benefits they or their firm may receive from a client following their recommendation.
- Article 7 – In a transaction, members shall not accept compensation from more than one party without disclosure to all parties and the informed consent of the member’s client or clients.
- Article 8 – Members must keep their own funds separate, secured and in an appropriate financial institution from any money coming into their possession in trust for other people.
- Article 9 – For the protection of all parties, members shall assure that all agreements related to real estate transactions, including listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement shall be given to each party upon their signing or initialing.
Part Two — DUTIES TO THE PUBLIC
- Article 10 – Members shall not discriminate or deny equal professional services to any person on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Members shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis mentioned previously.
- Article 11 – The services which members 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; such as, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage and international real estate. Members shall not undertake to provide specialised professional services that are 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 people that offer such assistance must be identifies to clients, with their contributions established.
- Article 12 – Members shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications. They shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. Also, members shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.
- Article 13 – Members shall not engage in activities that lead to the unauthorized practice of laws and shall recommend that legal counsel be obtained when the interest of any party to the transaction requires it.
- Article 14 – If charged with unethical practice or asked to present evidence or to cooperate in any professional standards proceeding or investigation, members shall provide all pertinent facts and shall take no action to disrupt such processes.
Part Three — DUTIES TO OTHER MEMBERS
- Article 15 – Members shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices.
- Article 16 – Members shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other members have with clients without permission.
- Article 17 – In the event of disputes amongst members, the members shall mediate the dispute themselves. If the dispute is not resolved through mediation, members shall submit the dispute for arbitration to SODA.RED. The dispute will be dealt with in accordance to the policies of SODA.RED provided the clients agree to be bound by any resulting agreement or reward.
SODA.RED believes in having a high quality code of ethics and expects its members to abide by the policy.
NOTE: The Code of Ethics may be occasionally updated, and members are expected to keep up-to-date on any changes and developments.