Filing a Complaint

Many difficulties between real estate professionals (whether REALTORS® or not) result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication. If you have a problem with a real estate professional, you may want to speak with them or with a principal broker in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.

If you are still not satisfied after discussing matters with your real estate professional or a principal broker in that firm, you may want to contact the local Board or Association of REALTORS®, where the REALTOR® holds primary membership to learn more about filing a complaint and the process.

Visit the dropdown below to learn about the process for Filing an Ethics Complaint. Download the General Instructions and Information for Filling and Replying to Complaints Form.

For questions, please contact GMAR’s Professional Standards Administrator via email at or by phone at 248-522-0340.

      1. Complaints must be typewritten or in clear print form and include specific articles of the Code of Ethics that are believed to be in violation. Complaints and all accompanying materials must be emailed or mailed to GMAR to the Professional Standards Administrator. Complaints should have a detailed outline/statement and documentation to support your outline/statement; the more information, the better for the Grievance Committee to review the complaint.
      1. Complaints will be referred to the Professional Standards Administrator and the Professional Standards Administrator to the Grievance Committee chairman. If the Grievance Committee finds the matter to constitute a proper cause of action, it will be referred to the Professional Standards Administrator to arrange a hearing; if not found to constitute a proper cause of action, it will be returned to the Complainant with the decision of the Grievance Committee together with information advising the Complainant of the procedures by which the Grievance Committee's decision may be appealed to the Board of Directors.
      1. Respondent will have fifteen (15) days after service of copy of the complaint to reply. If there is to be a hearing, a copy of the reply will be sent to the Professional Standards Administrator. The date for the hearing will be set, and all parties will be notified of the date and place of hearing at least twenty-one (21) days in advance.
      1. If no reply is received from the respondent within fifteen (15) days from when the request for response was transmitted, the date, time, and place of hearing will be set.
      1. All parties may be represented by legal counsel. If a party is not represented by counsel as a result of their own action or inaction, and a continuance has been previously granted by the Hearing panel based upon the party’s failure to obtain counsel, then the Hearing panel may decide to proceed forward with the hearing.

        b) Each party, may if necessary, compel attendance of witnesses or offer the testimony of witnesses through depositions pursuant to and as permitted by applicable Michigan Law and court rule.
      1. It is the responsibility of each party to arrange for their witnesses to be present at the hearing. All parties appearing at a hearing may be called as a witness without advance notice.
      1. Parties are strongly encouraged to provide any and all documents and evidence they intend to introduce during the hearing to the other party(ies) and to the association prior to the day of the hearing. Providing documents and evidence in advance can expedite the hearing process and prevent costly, unnecessary continuances.
      1. Either party may file with the Professional Standards Administrator, within ten (10) days from the date the names of the members of the Professional Standards Committee are transmitted to the parties, a written request for the disqualification of any potential member of the Hearing Panel for any of the
      1. Is related by blood or marriage to either Complainant, Respondent, or Realtor® acting as counsel for either the complainant or respondent.
        • Is an employer, partner, or employee, or in any way associated in business with either Complainant, Respondent, or a Realtor® acting as counsel for either the Complainant or Respondent.
        • Is a party to the hearing, or a party or a witness in another pending case involving Complainant or Respondent.
        • Knows any reason acceptable to the Hearing Panel or tribunal which may prevent him from rendering an impartial decision.
      1. The notice of hearing will contain names of members of the tribunal who will hear the case and should be accompanied by an “Outline of Procedure for Ethics Hearing.” Parties’ requests for continuances shall only be granted when all parties mutually agree to a subsequent specified date or when the hearing panel chair determines that denying the continuance would deny the requestor a fair hearing.
      1. The parties shall not discuss the case with any member of the Hearing Panel or the Board of Directors at any time prior to the announcement of a decision in the case.
      1. No hearing will be held in the absence of the Complainant. An Ethics hearing may proceed in the absence of a respondent.
  • Here are some General Principles to Keep in Mind
    • Ethics complaints must be filed with the member's Board or Association of REALTORS® within one hundred eighty (180) days from when a complainant knew (or reasonably should have known) that potentially unethical conduct took place.
    • Your complaint must cite one or more of the Articles of the Code of Ethics that may have been violated. Hearing Panels decide whether the Articles expressly cited in complaints were violated – not whether Standards of Practice or case interpretations were violated. Also helpful is the Interpretations of the Code of Ethics.
  • What to Include
    • Completed Ethics Complaint Form #E-1
    • A narrative description of the circumstances leads you to believe the Code of Ethics may have been violated. 
    • Copies of all relevant real estate documents in your possession such as Listing Agreement, Purchase Agreement, Agency Disclosure(s), Seller's Property Disclosure, Addendums, or any other documents which support the charges mentioned in your complaint.
  • After Filing an Ethics Complaint

    When your complaint has been received, the Complaint will be reviewed by the Grievance Committee at their next scheduled meeting.

    • If the Grievance Committee forwards your complaint about an ethics hearing, that does not mean they have decided the Code of Ethics has been violated. Rather, it means they feel that if what you allege in your complaint is found to have occurred by the Hearing Panel, that panel may have reason to find that a violation of the Code of Ethics occurred.
    • If the Grievance Committee dismisses your complaint, it does not mean they do not believe you. Rather, it means that they do not feel that your allegations would support a Hearing Panel's conclusion that the Article(s) cited in your complaint had been violated.

    The Grievance Committee's function is to make only such preliminary review and evaluation of the complaint as are required to determine whether the complaint warrants further consideration by a Hearing Panel of the Professional Standards Committee.

    GMAR's Grievance Committee is made up of brokers and agents just like you. We feel strongly about the Code's enforcement and attend the Professional Standards Workshop with the National Association of REALTORS® annually to ensure compliance with the Code and guarantee our membership and the public receive the strongest representation possible.