Illinois REALTORS® Ombudsman Program is here to help

ethics helpReal estate transactions can be complex. For members of the public, it helps to have someone knowledgeable about real estate practices to answer basic questions or work to resolve minor disputes.

Sometimes a member is unable to resolve a dispute with another member. Illinois REALTORS® has a team of Ombudsmen who work with consumers and REALTORS® to resolve disputes.

How it works: Any member of the public or an association member who has a question about or dispute with a REALTOR® can get assistance. The case will be assigned to a specially trained Ombudsman who will work with a complainant to resolve the issue.

Since it was founded in 2013, the program has seen nearly three-fifths of complaints handled to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

The program does not offer legal advice, but Illinois REALTORS® representatives can offer guidance on next steps to take, resources for information and can act as an intermediary in some disputes. The program has been able to clean up numerous misunderstandings and/or communication issues since its inception.

Illinois REALTORS® Ombudsman Program

What is the Illinois REALTORS® Ombudsman Program?
The program is a structured communication and problem-solving system available to consumers as well as members of Illinois REALTORS®The program provides a service to address complaints and questions that may be, but are not limited to, ethical, transactional, technical or procedural in nature.

What are the benefits of the Illinois REALTORS® Ombudsman Program?
The program provides an opportunity for both sides of a “story” to be heard; conveys the message that the industry does care about its professionals and the consumers they serve; provides a process to field complaints and questions; saves time for the parties, association staff and volunteers if a hearing can be avoided; provides education to the parties; and, fields concerns that otherwise may not be addressed.

What is the role of the Ombudsman?
The ombudsman is a communicator between the parties to the disagreement or dispute; responds to a wide variety of inquiries and complaints; works toward identifying the nature of the dispute, disagreement or misunderstanding; determines the desired outcome; answers general real estate or procedural questions; works as an informal mediator; and, keeps all matters confidential.

What an Ombudsman CANNOT do:
adjudicate (make decisions); determine if an ethics violation occurred; refer matters to the Grievance Committee or any regulatory body, except where there are concerns involving a possible violation of the public trust; give legal advice; or, act as an advocate for either party.

Illinois REALTORS® currently has 28 trained ombudsmen. These ombudsmen have completed mediation training, are actively involved in real estate, are knowledgeable about the Code of Ethics and the Illinois Real Estate License Act and represent different areas of Illinois. 

Once a request for an ombudsman is filed, the person making the request is usually contacted by an ombudsman within 24 hours. 

How to file a complaint

Fill out the form below with contact information and an overview of the facts of your question or dispute.

Need more information?

Call Illinois REALTORS® at (217) 529-2600 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (Closed major holidays).