CODE OF ETHICS AND STANDARDS OF PRACTICE
Updated: September 2015
The National Association of Apartment Locators is a trade association of apartment locators who are committed to ethical standards and professional business practices within our individual companies and toward each other. Our individual companies and agents desire to work in conjunction with property owners and managers to maintain a positive rapport, advance professionalism and enhance efforts to refer qualified rental prospects to properties that match prospect needs. It is our intention to improve the overall performance and occupancy of the apartment communities that pay locator commissions, while at the same time reducing fraudulent billing practices and enforcing appropriate state real estate laws as well as local, state, and national fair housing laws and regulations. As an industry, we also strive to conduct our business in ways that will minimize the potential for situations that might prove a conflict of interest for the apartment community and/or onsite personnel.
We are interested in a harmonious relationship with property owners and managers to improve the quality of our ongoing business relationship and presenting a clear understanding of the way we provide our services. A successful placement by a locator is an income enhancement for the community, a valuable service for the renter, and a beneficial transaction for all parties involved.
To honor individual state real estate law and provide tools and training that is customized to each individual market, NAAL will establish local chapters in cities with a prominent LOCATOR MEMBERS. Before a local chapter can be established, a local LOCATOR MEMBER must volunteer to serve as the organizer for the remainder of the fiscal year ending in September. Additional requirements are written in the chapter bylaws.
All LOCATOR MEMBERS must hold an active real estate license (with the exception of states on Exhibit A that do not require a real estate license), and therefore have been thoroughly vetted by the state licensing board and had their real estate license authenticated by NAAL.
All LOCATOR MEMBERS, regardless if they hold a real estate license or not, have agreed to uphold the standards outlined within this Code of Ethics.
Each state licensing board has individual rules with regards to the relationship between broker’s and sponsored agents. Our LOCATOR MEMBERS may hold a corporation, individual broker, broker associate, or salesman’s license. Regardless of license type, all LOCATOR MEMBERS are held accountable individually, and must abide by the Code of Ethics. LOCATOR MEMBERS with a broker’s license may require the Code of Ethics among their sponsored agents as long as it does not conflict with any real estate or employment law.
Realizing that cooperation with other real estate agents promotes the best interests of those who utilize the apartment locating service, LOCATOR MEMBERS urge exclusive representation of clients, do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over their competitors, and refrain from making unsolicited comments about other locators.
LEGITIMATE LOCATING COMPANIES
NAAL does not extend membership to Internet Listing Services. These companies impersonate a locating service by billing communities for a locator commission, but fail to offer any personalized real estate service to the customer.
LOCATOR MEMBERS must provide a reasonable level of agent assistance to each client, demonstrate a measurable real estate service through written and verbal communication with the client, and upon the clients request be willing to EITHER escort the client OR set up and confirm a meeting for the client at prospective apartment communities. LOCATOR MEMBERS are required to identify the specific criteria of the rental prospect, and understand their specific situation to determine their housing needs so they can properly evaluate which communities best match the prospect’s criteria. Our LOCATOR MEMBERS work closely with each community to fully understand the amenities and policies offered, so they can increase the value of the community by referring qualified rental prospects.
DUTIES TO CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS
DUTIES TO THE PUBLIC (ADVERTISING)
DUTIES TO OTHER LOCATOR MEMBERS
DUTIES TO APARTMENT COMMUNITIES
Many apartment communities will allow their staff to refer rental prospects to locators if the prospect does not meet the communities leasing requirements, or they do not have an available unit. Our LOCATOR MEMBERS agree to abide by the policies of the property owner and the management company as it relates to paying the leasing agent a referral bonus or other compensation. Our goal is to build a reciprocal relationship with leasing agents, but whether or not this practice is acceptable or appropriate is a decision to be made between the two parties.
LOCATOR MEMBERS will only invoice for a lease if they believe in good faith that the primary reason the client signed a lease is due to the communication, information, personal knowledge, and/or salesmanship offered by one of our LOCATOR MEMBERS. Our LOCATOR MEMBERS will submit a lease confirmation, and wait to invoice until after the resident has moved in, unless otherwise approved by the Property Owner or Manager.
A major part of the value LOCATOR MEMBERS provide to property owners is referring “qualified” rental prospects. Our LOCATOR MEMBERS stand behind their obligation to pre-screen their clients and therefore if a client does not fulfill their rental obligations in the first three months, offer this commission refund policy ONLY if the property owner has already paid the full commission. If a LOCATOR MEMBER is paid a full commission but the client does not pay the first month’s rent, the LOCATOR MEMBER agrees to refund the full commission; if the client does not pay the second month’s rent the LOCATOR MEMBER will refund 2/3 of the commission; and if the client does not pay the third month’s rent the LOCATOR MEMBER will refund 1/3 of the commission. The refund policy would only be valid if a property paid the commission in less than 90 days, and the property notifies the LOCATOR MEMBER in writing.
LOCATOR MEMBERS will conduct themselves in a professional manner in ALL of their interactions with apartment staff. Professionalism includes demonstrating excellence, integrity, respect, compassion, accountability, and a commitment to thoughtfulness in all our interactions and responsibilities.
LOCATOR MEMBERS will work closely with each community to fully understand the amenities and policies offered, so they can increase the value of the community by referring qualified rental prospects.
LOCATOR MEMBERS continuously strive to remain informed on issues affecting real estate, and as knowledgeable professionals they willingly assist NAAL to eliminate practices which may damage the public or might discredit or dishonor the apartment locating profession. Any LOCATOR MEMBER having first- hand knowledge of conduct that may violate the Code of Ethics will bring such matters to the attention of NAAL.
If charged with a grievance by either a LOCATOR MEMBER or apartment owner, the LOCATOR MEMBER will cooperate with NAAL and provide necessary documentation to investigate the grievance.
If the ethics committee determines the grievance has merit, the LOCATOR MEMBER will accept the decision and any recourse assigned. Certain offenses may result in the termination of the LOCATOR MEMBERS membership, and the grievance made public to management companies.
EXHIBIT A: STATES THAT DO NOT REQUIRE A REAL ESTATE LICENSE
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