Resolution of Conflicts.
Mediation, the first step toward resolution.
Voluntary and Mandatory Mediation
The Kent Washington Association of REALTORS® encourage the use of mediation as a first-step toward resolution of conflicts and disputes arising out of real estate business transactions, as defined in Article 17 of the Code of Ethics and further explained in Standard of Practice 17-4.
Mediation is an informal dispute resolution process in which a trained, neutral third-party (the mediator), helps the disputing parties find and reach a mutually acceptable settlement of their dispute. In 2014, the KWAOR Board of Directors adopted the National Association of REALTORS® mandatory mediation requirement which requires that all parties who file for mandatory arbitration attempt to resolve their dispute through mediation prior to going to arbitration. We utilize Mediators approved by the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS®. They have a great track record in working with parties to resolve their commission disputes before the formal arbitration hearing, resulting in less time, effort and emotions than found with pursuing the “win/lose” solution provided by arbitration.
Any arbitration request filed at KWAOR is offered voluntary mediation prior to review of the complaint by the Grievance Committee. However, once a complaint is reviewed and approved for forwarding to a Hearing Panel by our Grievance Committee, those who have not already attempted to resolve their dispute through mediation will be required to attend a mediation conference. If the conference is not successful, an arbitration hearing will then be scheduled. There are numerous advantages to choosing mediation over arbitration, including: maintaining positive working relationships, as well as saving time and money.
It must be understood by all parties that unless they have already voluntarily participated in a mediation conference, mediation becomes mandatory after a complaint has been forwarded to the Arbitration Hearing Panel. The parties should participate in the mediation process in good faith, and, any resolution is binding upon the parties. Parties to a mediation may withdraw from the process at any point prior to reaching an agreement. Any offers of settlement that were not accepted or any suggested resolution proposed by the Mediation Officer that was not accepted will not be introduced as evidence nor considered in any manner should the matter require arbitration by the Board’s Professional Standards Committee. However, if the parties agree to a settlement of the dispute, and the settlement has been reduced to writing and has been signed by all of the parties, the matter is deemed resolved and cannot be the subject of a subsequent arbitration hearing. In the event either of the parties later fails to abide by the terms of the settlement, the matter may not be arbitrated; instead, the other party should be encouraged to have the settlement judicially enforced by a court of competent jurisdiction.