Grievance & Arbitration

Even with the best of intentions, planning and preparation, occasional disagreements arise between agents and their clients or customers. If a monetary dispute arises from a real estate transaction or if you believe an agent may have acted in an unethical manner, please contact CDAR.

Complaints that are brought before the Association give those parties involved an opportunity to be educated about the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and/or the Multiple Listing Service’s Rules and Regulations. In addition, REALTORS® are judged by their peers as opposed to other individuals, who may be far less familiar with the practices and customs of the real estate industry.

Here are some things to know about the entire Grievance and Arbitration process.

What is a grievance?

A grievance alleges that a REALTOR® has violated an Article(s) of the Code of Ethics or an MLS participant or subscriber has violated the Multiple Listing Service Rules and Regulations.

Who can file a grievance complaint?

Any person, whether a member or not, having reason to believe that a CDAR REALTOR® member or MLS participant or subscriber is in violation of any conduct subject to disciplinary action.

What is arbitration?

An arbitration request involves a dispute over entitlement to a monetary transaction (over a commission). They may fall under the following categories:

  • Member arbitration

Disputes subject to arbitration include: disputes with other Members arising out of the real estate business and their relationship as REALTORS®.

With respect to MLS participants and subscribers, they agree to arbitrate disputes that not only arise out of the real estate business but they must be in conjunction with a listing filed in or with the MLS.

MLS participants/subscribers are not obligated to arbitrate with the general public or their clients.

  • Client arbitration

Disputes subject to arbitration include: contractual disputes with a member’s client arising out of an agency relationship between the member and client, provided the client agrees to submit the dispute to binding arbitration using the Association’s facilities and be bound by the arbitration award.

Before filing a complaint or requesting arbitration, please contact OCAR’s Professional Standards Department for proper next steps and to verify an individual’s membership status with our Association.

Not sure what happens after you file a Grievance complaint or Arbitration? View our Professional Standards Flowchart which explains the major steps in the process.



Information on this page does not constitute legal advice and is provided as a reference only. If you have any questions about the complaint or arbitration process, it is strongly recommended that you contact CDAR’s Professional Standards Department

For additional resources, please click on the following links below:

  • CDAR MLS Rules and Regulations

    If you need more information to find out if an MLS rule or regulation has been violated, we ask that you refer to the MLS Rules and Regulations to ensure that such has occurred.

  • Ethics Arbitration Manual

    As the California Desert Association of REALTORS® adheres to the ethics and arbitration practices put forth by the California Association of REALTORS®, please refer to this California Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual provided by C.A.R.

  • NAR Code of Ethics

    As the California Desert Association of REALTORS® adheres to the ethics set forth by the National Association of REALTORS®, please refer to the NAR Code of Ethics provided by NAR.