For the fifth straight year, the number of requests for assistance increased for the Illinois REALTORS® Ombudsman Program.
The Ombudsman Program allows the association to tap the expertise of experienced real estate professionals who are trained in problem solving. An Ombudsman acts as an intermediary to assist consumers and REALTORS® in solving basic problems that arise during a transaction.
“The rising number of requests is a sign that we’ve increased the visibility of the ombudsmen and the good work they do for consumers and colleagues,” said Rebecca Carraher, Illinois REALTORS® Director of Ethical Standards. “They can help bridge communication gaps as unbiased third parties. Ombudsmen care about their profession and devote many volunteer hours as a result.”
The program received 292 requests in 2017, up 78 from 2016. The largest number of complaints in 2017 were in:
- the Code of Ethics (42),
- business ethics (40),
- contracts (27) and
- earnest money (27).
In 2017, there were 134 Ethics Citation Complaints filed with 68 citations issued.
The number of citation complaints went up from 77 in 2016.
Approved by Illinois REALTORS®’ Board of Directors in 2014, the Ethics Citation Program allows REALTORS® and consumers working with REALTORS® to file complaints stemming from violations of certain Articles and Standards of Practice of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. All complaints filed will be sent to a panel to review and if the panel finds the complaint has merit and falls within the parameters of the program, a citation will be issued with an accompanying fine.