REALTORS® have access to both mediation and ombudsman services through your membership with Alabama REALTORS®. Review the information below to learn the differences between the two services and which option may work best for you.
What is mediation?
Mediation involves the parties meeting with a neutral/impartial mediator who helps facilitate discussion but who has no authority over the outcome of the meeting. Mediation is an efficient and economical mechanism to resolve disputes.
What is the cost of mediation?
With mediation at the Alabama REALTORS®, there is no cost, little delay, no hearing panel, use of one or two neutral/impartial mediators and the solution is just as binding and enforceable as arbitration.
Once I start mediation, am I stuck with the result?
Both parties decide to enter the process and can leave the process at any time (at which time a hearing can be convened). The parties have complete control over the outcome, as opposed to relinquishing that authority to a third party.
I am not a REALTOR® but have a disagreement with my REALTOR®. Can I go to mediation?
Clients of REALTORS® may utilize mediation services as long as the client(s) agrees to abide by any resulting agreement. For more information about mediation and how to submit a mediation request, read below.
To Pursue Mediation
If you wish to pursue mediation offered by the Alabama REALTORS®, call the Alabama REALTORS® at (334) 262-3808.
There are eight (8) steps in the Alabama REALTORS® mediation process. To view them all, press the View All button below.
Definition of Ombudsman for REALTORS®
The Ombudsman Program in its simplest definition is informal telephone mediation. In some cases, it can address and solve minor complaints from the public. It can also solve inter‐ REALTOR® conflicts before they become serious problems. Like a mediator, an ombudsman helps parties find solutions
What is the Ombudsman Program?
Ombudsman Procedures are intended to provide enhanced communications and initial problem‐solving capacity to the professional standards process. Alabama Realtors® is charged with the responsibility of receiving and resolving ethics complaints, and hearing arbitration disputes filed against its’ members. An Ombudsman can respond to general questions regarding real estate practices, transaction details, ethical practices and enforcement issues.
How will I know to ask for an Ombudsman?
Many complaints do not expressly allege violations of specific articles of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and may not concern conduct related to the Code. Some complaints are transactional, technical, and procedural questions that can be readily responded to. Some complaints are due strictly to lack of communication. These types of issues may be appropriate for the Ombudsman program.
What are REALTOR® Ombudsman benefits?
You can receive non‐judgmental real estate related information in a timely manner and at no cost.
What will the Ombudsmen not do?
- Adjudicate/make the final decision;
- Give legal advice;
- Determine who is right or wrong;
- Disclose communications – Process is CONFIDENTIAL;
- Make any written record of discussions and/or agreements.
Who are the Ombudsmen?
REALTOR® appointed Ombudsmen must:
- Meet criteria for extensive real estate experience and/or additional qualifications as determined by the Association’s Board of Directors;
- Demonstrate objectivity;
- Participate in a training program; and
- Possess extensive knowledge of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, license law and best practices.
How does the Ombudsman process work?
The Professional Standards Administrator/Chief Executive Officer will assemble information to be sent to the Ombudsman via e‐mail. This information may include:
- Name, phone number and role of the complainant (that is, buyer, seller, broker, etc.)
- Name, phone number, and role of the respondent (that is, broker, principal broker, etc.)
- If the respondent is a broker, the name of principal broker and/or managing broker.
The Ombudsman will make all necessary contacts in an attempt to resolve the complaint. If the Ombudsman efforts are effective, there is no further action necessary. If the efforts are not successful in resolving the Complainant’s issues, the Ombudsman will advise the Complainant about the next step(s) in the complaint process.