The Virgin Islands Territorial Association is responsible for enforcing the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics imposes duties above and in addition to those imposed by law or regulation and apply only to real estate professionals who choose to become REALTOR® members of the National and Territorial Associations through membership in their local Board.
Collectively known as the Professional Standards process, there are two types of cases which may be filed: Ethics Complaints or Requests for Arbitration.
Ethics Complaints: May be filed with the Virgin Islands Territorial Association of REALTORS® against a REALTOR® member of the St. Croix, St. John or St. Thomas Boards by another REALTOR®, a client or customer of a REALTOR®, or any member of the general public who believes the member has committed a possible violation of the Code. Ethics proceedings are strictly internal disciplinary matters and, unlike civil proceedings in court, cannot result in the awarding of compensation or punitive damages to the Complainant.
Arbitrations: These are cases involving a contractual business dispute between two parties. While these cases normally concern broker-to-broker disputes, REALTOR® clients may also invoke arbitration as long as they have a contractual agreement, such as a signed listing agreement, property management agreement or buyer's broker representation agreement with a REALTOR®. REALTOR® clients must agree to recognize the outcome of an arbitration hearing as legally binding and enforceable. In all cases, mediation by a trained VITAR mediation officer is required as a first step prior to pursuing an arbitration.
In both types of cases, the matter is first reviewed by the VITAR Grievance Committee whose role is to ensure that ethics complaints fall under the Articles and Standards of Practice set forth in the Code of Ethics or that arbitration requests fall within the arbitrarily guidelines of the REALTOR® Association's Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual. If an ethics complaint is determined to fall under the Code of Ethics or an arbitration request is judged to be an arbitrable matter under the Code, it is then referred to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing.