Changes to the Code of Ethics took effect this year to help ensure it remains up-to-date as practitioners confront new situations. Here are four highlighted by REALTOR® Magazine:

  1. Authorized use of property. The duty of fidelity to clients’ interests was advanced through a new Standard of Practice interpreting Article 1 as prohibiting members from accessing or using, or permitting others to access or use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those authorized by the owner or seller.
  2. False statements against others. Article 15’s obligation to refrain from knowingly or recklessly making false or misleading statements was expanded to cover “other real estate professionals, their businesses, and their business practices.” These changes are also reflected in Standards of Practice 15-2 and 15-3.
  3. Mediating disputes. The dispute resolution scope of Article 17 was enhanced to include the duty to mediate otherwise-arbitrable disputes in cases where the association of REALTORS® has established a duty to mediate.
  4. Waiving mediation and arbitration. Standard of Practice 17-2 (which interprets and explains Article 17) was amended to make it clear that REALTORS® are not obligated to mediate or arbitrate in cases where all parties to the dispute choose not to have it mediated or arbitrated through the association.

All REALTOR® members must successfully complete a 2.5-hour course in ethics, within given four-year cycles, and continue to update their education in successive four-year periods thereafter. The current cycle ends Dec. 31, 2012. Ethics courses may be available through your local board. Contact your local association for details. REALTORS® can also complete the training online with a free course, courtesy of NAR. Go to

Reminder: the GRI II course being held November 26-29 in Bloomington counts toward the completion of Code of Ethics requirement. Take GRI Course II with Bruce Aydt’s course “Ethics, Arbitration and You.”

Read more Quick Takes from the October 2012 issue of Illinois REALTOR®.