Filing Arbitration Requests
Filing Arbitration Requests
An Arbitration Request is different from an Ethics complaint. An Ethics complaint alleges violation by a REALTOR® of an article of the Code of Ethics. An Arbitration involves a monetary business dispute, often involving one member in disagreement with another member, usually over a commission or contractual dispute. Sometimes Arbitration concerns a monetary dispute between a customer or client and an Association member.
If your situation concerns both Ethics and Arbitration, the Association will handle the Arbitration portion separately. The Association will consider the Ethics complaint only after it has completed the Arbitration. The Association always holds the Arbitration first.
The following individuals may file an Arbitration request with the REALTORS® Association:
- REALTOR® members who are principal brokers.
- REALTOR® members who are not principals, provided his or her principal broker joins in the request.
- REALTOR members who are or were affiliated with the same firm, provided each party voluntarily agrees to the Arbitration in writing.
- Clients of a REALTOR®, provided all parties agree voluntarily to submit to Arbitration.
- Customers of a REALTOR®, provided there is a contractual relationship, and all parties agree voluntarily to submit to Arbitration.
The obligation of REALTORS® to submit certain disputes to the Association for Arbitration falls under Article 17 of the Code of Ethics. Not every situation may be arbitrated by the Association, and not every dispute falls under a REALTORS®' mandatory obligation to Arbitrate. These factors in determining whether your dispute is arbitrable, and whether Arbitration is mandatory on the part of the REALTOR®, can be explained to you in more detail. They are also key factors considered by the Review Committee when your Request is considered for possible referral to hearing.
Disputes involving clients or customers require that they sign an agreement to arbitrate and to be bound by the Arbitration.
Arbitration is a service provided by the REALTORS® Association to its members to assist in resolving disputes with other REALTORS® and their clients, and sometimes customers. Arbitration is not a disciplinary proceeding nor does it award damages. By becoming and remaining a member of the REALTORS® Association, each REALTOR® binds him or herself to arbitrate certain disputes. Not every situation may be arbitrated by the Association, however. Conditions and limitations exist which you must consider, and which can be explained to you in greater detail by contacting the Association.
Filing a Request for Mediation and/or Arbitration
To submit an Arbitration request to the Association, review the following information and take the steps outlined:
1. Requests for Arbitration must be filed within 180 days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within 180 days after the facts constituting the arbitrable matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later.
2. Seriously consider whether you are willing to Mediate the dispute through a Settlement process and indicate your decision on the Request for Mediation Form called What is a Mediation Conference?. See the section below for information on how to request Mediation.
3. Complete and sign the Request and Agreement to Arbitrate or Mediate - Member (Form A-1). Name the REALTOR® Broker/Principal(s) and/or the firm(s) in question as the Respondent(s). Your signature indicates your commitment to abide by the decision of the Hearing Panel.
4. Indicate the amount in dispute.
5. Include an explanation of the situation. Explain why you feel you are entitled to an award of some kind (in Arbitrations, the award requested is usually monetary).
6. Keep in mind when you are preparing your case that the Burden of Proof in Arbitration is on the Complainant. The standard of proof is a "preponderance of the evidence; i.e., that evidence, when taken as a whole, is more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition.
7. Do not include unethical allegations in your argument. If you think the REALTORS(s)® violated the Code of Ethics, the Association can handle this separately through an Ethics complaint (see Ethics). (You can file both Arbitration and Ethics complaints simultaneously, but the hearings will be held separately, and the Arbitration will be held first.)
8. Attach copies of any and all pertinent documents such as listing agreements, purchase and sales agreements, closing statements, etc. If you wish to include statements from persons who wouldn't be at a hearing, should one be recommended, have them make their statements on the Witness Affidavit Form. It is recommended that the Witness Affidavit be notarized. Include those as well.
9. You must include a $500 deposit with your Arbitration request. The deposit of the prevailing party will be returned if the amount awarded is that which was requested.
10. Be sure your request is completely filled out and signed, and includes all the pertinent documentation that may help your case. Send the entire package, keeping a copy for yourself, to the REALTORS® Association of Northeast Wisconsin, W6124 Aerotech Drive; Appleton WI 54914.