Code of Ethics Update

At this past Thursday’s board meeting, the HAAR board of directors addressed concern with McKissock Online School and their Code of Ethics course not being in compliance with the HAAR Code of Ethics policy. We wanted to clear up any misinformation surrounding the acceptance of the Code of Ethics training courses.
History of the Code of Ethics Policy
First, NAR approved a policy regarding Code of Ethics (CEO) training at the meeting in November 2019.  Here is that motion from NAR: At its Nov. 11, 2019 meeting, NAR’s Board of Directors approved a change to NAR’s Code of Ethics training requirement.
Since 2001, REALTORS® have been required to take Code of Ethics training to retain their membership. Originally, the training was required every four years, but in 2017, NAR changed the requirement to every two years.
A presidential advisory group (PAG), appointed in 2019, made several recommendations to the NAR Leadership Team. One of its recommendations was to extend the requirement to every three years in order to give members more time to fit it into their continuing education schedule and to give local associations adequate time between cycles to administer the program.
  • The current Cycle 6 deadline is extended from Dec. 31, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021.
The NAR Leadership Team sought feedback from several committees before bringing the proposal before the board of directors. Separately, the NAR Leadership Team approved several recommendations of the PAG that didn’t require a board vote:
  1. That the learning objectives for the existing member Code of Ethics training be revised to include content on professional conduct, courtesies, business etiquette, and real-life scenarios.
  2. That NAR establish Code of Ethics training equivalency options that members can take to satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement and that the Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) endorsement be an equivalency option.
  3. That only courses and equivalencies provided by a local, state, or national REALTOR® association can satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement.
With these recommendations in mind, NAR released an implementation guide for Associations and course providers – and specifically addressed the portion of the policy that addresses course acceptance:
  • Policy 3: That only courses and equivalencies provided by a local, state, or National REALTOR® Association can satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement: Course providers are encouraged to begin working with associations to determine the nature of these partnerships, and associations are encouraged to assess their own education offerings to determine if partnering with course providers in the future makes sense. Associations continue to assess courses on an individual basis to determine if they meet the mandatory learning requirements for the training.
Further, at the November 13, 2020 meeting NAR approved changes to the NAR code of ethics to further the enforcement of Code standard of practice 10-5: Standard of Practice 10-5: REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
As you are all aware, in 2019 the HAAR board approved a new strategic plan for the association. Principle 2 of the 5 principles from the strategic plan says that Professionalism is our priority and for the association to “Design a program to elevate REALTOR® professionalism beyond established ethical requirements.” Underneath this portion of the strategic plan the following goals were established by HAAR:
  • Consider supporting increased minimum standards and requirement for licensure
  • REALTORS® and the association are better able to differentiate themselves
  • HAAR serves as model for a new standard of ethics and what it means to be a REALTOR®
With this in mind, an education workgroup was appointed by 2020 VP Tim Brown to look at establishing a model to allow HAAR members to gain credit for Code of Ethics training, but only from providers who can prove that they are teaching to the updated “Code of Ethics” learning objectives – to include the updated 10-5. Under guidance of 2021 VP Chris Hulser, the board began to implement the following policy.
Upon recommendation of this workgroup, the HAAR board approved and adopted the following policy:
MOTION: To approve the Code of Ethics Course Credit to comply with NAR Policy of Code of Ethics Classes offered and Accepted. HAAR will only accept Code of Ethics training administered by the National Association of REALTORS®, Alabama Association of REALTORS®, Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS®, or from another REALTOR® organization. Any school of Real Estate that administers the Code of Ethics course to HAAR members will be required to meet the following requirements for credit to be given to the HAAR member:
  1. Submit the learning objectives during each cycle of the course being taught to ensure up to date content from the Code of Ethics requirements by the National Association of REALTORS®.
  2. Submit student rosters to HAAR from Code of Ethics courses taught by your school’s instructors to verify attendance/completion. Furthermore, REALTOR® members who hold the C2EX Endorsement from the National Association of REALTORS®, the Code of Ethics Training Requirements shall be considered met by maintaining the endorsement. MOTION Passed.
So what does this mean for you?
HAAR continues to accept Code of Ethics training courses from any real estate school that complies with the policy above. Thank you to all of the schools who have worked so closely with our team to make this transition. HAAR continues offer code of ethics and a variety of other training courses at no cost to members and they can choose to either attend in-person at the office or attend via Zoom at their convenience. We have setup a landing page for all of the ways that code of ethics can be achieved: .
As an association, we are trending ahead of Code of Ethics requirements by all members and with record numbers of membership. We only have about 600 members of the 3000 HAAR members (only 20% of HAAR members) who have not yet met the requirements. Usually around this time, we still have 1000s of members who are not yet in compliance.
Thank you to everyone for your commitment to the Code of Ethics!
What if I took my course from McKissock?
If McKissock chooses to comply with the HAAR policy, we will gladly accept the courses taken from them this cycle. A letter was sent to all Code of Ethics providers in January 2021 establishing the baseline for the HAAR policy. All of our schools locally and other national online providers have complied with this policy – except for McKissock. Our professional development administrator has met with McKissock on 2 occasions via Zoom to discuss with them the policy and work on ways to make the policy work for them. They made no actions to comply and stopped responding to HAAR earlier this year. I think hearing directly from their customers might encourage them to gain compliance with HAAR’s and NAR’s policy. If you would like a copy of the letter sent to them, please contact the association.
If you have further questions regarding your code of ethics training status requirement, please reach out to Abbi Johnson or Mike Sandoval in our Professional Development department. As a reminder, Code of Ethics training courses must be completed by December 31, 2021.