Dispute Resolution

When a Consumer or REALTOR® member has a complaint there are options to resolve the issue.

#1 Request Ombudsman Services

The public and members who have a complaint or question regarding ethics, commissions, professionalism, etc., may use our Ombudsman Services at no charge. Oral or Anonymous complaints will not be addressed. One of our Ombudsmen will contact the complainant. The complainant must provide their name and contact information including phone numbers and email address on the Request for Ombudsman Service form.

#2 Negotiate

The parties can decide upon a satisfactory resolution between themselves.

#3 Mediate

Mediation is a process in which disputing parties attempt to resolve their disagreements with the help of an impartial, trained neutral third party... the mediator. Often a real estate contractual agreement will have a clause that requires the parties to Mediate prior to taking any further action. The mediator does not pass judgment or render legally binding decisions. The mediator's function is to help the parties open communication, identify their differences and reach agreement on how to resolve them.

When the disputing parties have reached a mutually acceptable solution, they sign a written agreement which outlines the terms of the settlement. Once the agreement is signed, parties are legally bound to abide by its terms. If the parties cannot reach a mutually agreeable settlement, they are free to arbitrate or litigate their dispute as if the mediation never took place.

In addition to being easier, faster and less expensive than litigation, mediation is non-adversarial. Decisions rendered by an arbitrator or judge usually determine a winning and losing party. In mediation the parties have retained control of the outcome of the process and together have fashioned the terms of the settlement.

For more information and to file requests for Mediation go to: http://www.mediate.com/mdrealtors/index.cfm or Call 1-888-412-6720

#4 File a Formal Ethics Complaint

REALTOR® members of the Harford County Association of REALTORS®, as all REALTORS®, have agreed to be held to the highest Code of Ethics. If a violation of the Code of Ethics is determined, the REALTOR® may be suspended, fined or expelled from membership.

Harford County Association of REALTORS is part of the Professional Standards Cooperative. For more information on filing an Ethics Complaint, please click here: https://www.mdrealtor.org/Professional-Development/Ethics/File-a-Complaint

#5 File a Request for Arbitration

An Arbitration request is an issue over commission. Harford County Association of REALTORS is part of the Professional Standards Cooperative. For more information on filing a Request for Arbitration, please click here: https://www.mdrealtor.org/Professional-Development/Ethics/File-a-Complaint

#6 File a Complaint with the Maryland Real Estate Commission

The Maryland Real Estate Commission is the government agency that regulates all real estate licensees, including REALTORS®. The Real Estate Commission handles claims against the Maryland Real Estate Guaranty Fund for damages due to fraud, misrepresentation, failure to fulfill agency duties, real estate license laws, Maryland Code of Ethics, etc.

To file a complaint with the Maryland Real Estate Commission call 410-230-6230 or go to: http://dllr.maryland.gov/license/mrec/mreccomp.shtml

#7 File a Discrimination Complaint

Anyone who believes they have been discriminated against in a housing related issue should file a complaint at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/housing_discrimination or call 1-888-799-2085.

#8 Litigate

We recommend consulting with an attorney who specializes in local real estate law and contracts when considering taking your complaint to court. There may be other options available to you to help resolve your issue and your consultation with an attorney may be the best place to start.

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