If you were on the Professional Standards Hearing Panel, would you find the Respondent, REALTOR® C, in violation of Article 16 or not in violation of Article 16?

Case #16-2: Respect for Agency (Revised Case #21-6 May, 1988. Transferred to Article 16 November, 1994. Revised May, 2017.)

Client A gave a 180-day exclusive right to sell listing of a commercial property to REALTOR® B, specifying that no “for sale” sign was to be placed on the property. REALTOR® B and his sales associates started an intensive sales effort which, after three months, had produced no offer to buy, but it had called attention to the fact that Client A’s property was for sale. When REALTOR® C heard of it, he called on Client A, saying that he understood that his property was, or soon would be, for sale, and that if Client A would list the property with him exclusively, he felt confident that he could provide prompt action. Client A said the property was exclusively listed with REALTOR® B under a contract that still had about 90 days to run.

“In that case,” said Realtor® C, “you are bound for the next 90 days to REALTOR® B. I have a really outstanding organization, constantly in touch with active buyers interested in this class of property. I am in a position to render you an exceptional service, and I will plan to call you again in 90 days or so.”

The property remained unsold during the term of REALTOR® B’s listing contract. REALTOR® C called again on Client A, and obtained his assurance that he would sign an exclusive listing of the property upon expiration of the listing contract.

When REALTOR® B called on Client A on the last day of the listing contract to seek its renewal, Client A told him of REALTOR® C’s two visits. “I was impressed by REALTOR® C’s assurance of superior service” Client A told REALTOR® B, “and in view of the fact that my listing with you produced no definite offer in the 180-day period, I have decided to give REALTOR® C a listing tomorrow.”

REALTOR® B filed a complaint with the Grievance Committee of the Association, outlined the facts, and charged that REALTOR® C’s conduct had been inconsistent with Article 16 of the Code of Ethics.

The Grievance Committee referred the matter to the Professional Standards Committee.