What are the penalties that the Commission can give for violating real estate license rules and regulations in Utah?

Utah law requires that persons applying for a license as a real estate sales agent, associate broker, or principle broker must meet certain standards evidencing "honesty, integrity, truthfulness, and reputation." Criminal convictions can affect a person's ability to meet those standards and may result in a person being denied a license in Utah.

Utah Administrative Code Section R162-2f-201 requires that the Division of Real Estate and Utah Real Estate Commission must deny a license as an agent, associate broker, or principle broker if a person has a conviction for a felony (resulting from a guilty verdict at trial or under a plea agreement) or a release date from jail or prison for a felony conviction within five years of the date of application.  The license must also be denied for a conviction or a release date from jail for a misdemeanor involving "fraud, misrepresentation, theft, or dishonesty" within three years of the date of application.

The Utah Administrative Code also allows (but does not require) a license to be denied for other acts or incidents from the applicants past that "reflect negatively on the applicant's honesty, integrity, truthfulness, and reputation."  The Division and Commission are allowed to consider other criminal charges less serious than those described above, civil judgments or lawsuits, evidence of non-compliance with court orders or conditions of sentencing, probation agreements, or pleas in abeyance.

If you are a real estate professional in Utah and are facing criminal charges, it is important to have an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer on your side.  Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

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Reasons to Hope »

Adopted in 1913, the Code of Ethics consists of 17 articles and standards of practice. The Code is updated each year to make sure it adequately represents current real estate conditions and consumer needs.

The Utah Association of REALTORS® strictly enforces the Code of Ethics. REALTORS® are subject to disciplinary action and sanctions if they violate the duties in the Code of Ethics. Each REALTOR® is required to take training at least once every three years to keep up to date on their ethical obligations.

To learn more about the professional duties required of each REALTOR®, visit NAR.Realtor for the most recent edition of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

The basic principles of the Code of Ethics include the following:

Duties to Clients and Customers

Article 1
REALTORS® protect and promote their clients’ interests while treating all parties honestly.

Article 2
REALTORS® refrain from exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts related to property or transactions.

Article 3
REALTORS® cooperate with other real estate professionals to advance their clients’ best interests.

Article 4
When buying or selling on their own account or for their families or firms, REALTORS® make their true position or interest known.

Article 5
REALTORS® do not provide professional services where they have any present or contemplated interest in property without disclosing that interest to all affected parties.

Article 6
REALTORS® disclose any fee or financial benefit they may receive from recommending related real estate products or services.

Article 7
REALTORS® accept compensation from only one party, except where they make full disclosure to all parties and receive informed consent from their client.

Article 8
REALTORS® keep the funds of clients and customers in a separate escrow account.

Article 9
REALTORS® make sure that details of agreements are spelled out in writing whenever possible and that parties receive copies.

Duties to the Public

Article 10
REALTORS® give equal professional service to all clients and customers irrespective of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® do not discriminate in their employment practices.

Article 11
REALTORS® are knowledgeable and competent in the fields of practice in which they engage or they get assistance from a knowledgeable professional, or disclose any lack of expertise to their client.

Article 12
REALTORS® are honest and truthful in their communications and present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and in other public representations.

Article 13
REALTORS® do not engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

Article 14
REALTORS® willingly participate in ethics investigations and enforcement actions.

Duties to REALTORS®

Article 15
REALTORS® make only truthful, not misleading, comments about other real estate professionals.

Article 16
REALTORS® respect the exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with their clients.

Article 17
REALTORS® arbitrate and mediate financial disagreements with other REALTORS® and with their clients. 

How to Submit a Complaint

If you feel a REALTOR® has failed to meet the standards in the Code of Ethics, you may file a complaint using the process below.

Step 1 – Talk to the real estate professional and their broker

Most complaints result from a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Before filing a complaint, talk to the real estate professional or their broker. You may be able to resolve the problem without additional action.

Step 2 – Determine whether the complaint qualifies

Before filing a complaint, make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • The real estate professional in the complaint must be a REALTOR®. Only REALTORS® are bound by the Code of Ethics. Check to see if the person is a REALTOR® and member of the Utah Association of REALTORS®.
  • The complaint must be filed within 180 days from the time you knew about the potentially unethical conduct.
  • The complaint must cite which articles of the Code of Ethics have been violated.
  • The complaint must include a narrative or description about the circumstances surrounding the conduct and how you believe the REALTOR® violated the Code of Ethics.
  • Panels will only look at issues covered by the Code of Ethics. Hearing panels do not address violations of state licensing law. Submit complaints about real estate licensing issues to the Utah Division of Real Estate.

To learn more about the ethics complaint process, please read “Before You File a Complaint” from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Step 3 – Consider using the ombudsman program

Before filing a complaint, consider using the ombudsman program to resolve the issue. This is an informal process where a volunteer experienced broker will communicate with the two parties to resolve the issue. There is no obligation to use the ombudsman program. If the process doesn’t work, you may still file an ethics complaint.

Contact Lance Harrison at the Utah Association of REALTORS® at (801) 676-5200 if you are interested in using this program.

Step 4 – File a complaint

Download and complete the ethics complaint form and mail your complaint to the Utah Association of REALTORS®, ATTN Lance Harrison, 230 W. Towne Ridge Parkway, Suite 500, Sandy, UT 84070.

If the REALTOR® is a member of the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®, please submit your complaint to the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®.

After you file a complaint, UAR staff will reach out to you regarding next steps.

Step 5 – Wait for Grievance Committee review

The Grievance Committee will review your complaint and determine whether to forward it to a hearing panel or dismiss it. If the Grievance Committee dismisses your complaint, you have 20 days to file an appeal.

Step 6 – Attend ethics hearing

If the Grievance Committee forwards your complaint, a professional standards panel will hold a hearing to determine if an ethics violation occurred. Plan on attending this hearing to provide testimony. You may also bring witnesses and legal counsel if you choose.

Step 7 – Review panel findings

The panel will create findings of fact based on their impartial review of the case. If the REALTOR® is found in violation of the Code of Ethics, the panel will determine appropriate sanctions and training.


Direct questions about the ethics complaint process to Lance Harrison at the Utah Association of REALTORS® by calling (801) 676-5200.

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