What is Voluntary Arbitration?
Voluntary Arbitration is a process where parties in a dispute agree to let an unbiased Hearing Panel resolve a real estate related issue arising between:
- Realtors® affiliated with the same firm
- Realtor® principals and non-member brokers
- Realtor® principals and their customers
Does My Case Qualify for Voluntary Arbitration
1. All Parties Must Agree to use it
In order to participate, all parties in the dispute must agree to use our services instead of going to court.
Although non-members brokers can request arbitration, Realtor® members are not required to submit to such claims. In these cases, their participation is voluntary and optional.
Business disputes between Realtor® principals and their customers can be arbitrated by the associating if:
- There is a written contractual relationship between a customer and a client
- All Parties to the dispute agree in writing to arbitrate the dispute
2. It must be an arbitrable matter
In all cases, the disputed matter must be subject to arbitration as defined in Part 10, Section 45 of the NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.
What Happens During Voluntary Arbitration?
Hearing Panels are composed of volunteer Realtors® who serve on MNR’s Professional Standards Committee. They arbitrate disputes between brokers, or between brokers and their clients.
During the process, the Hearing Panel follows Arbitration Guidelines established by the National Association of Realtors. This involves examining evidence, hearing arguments from both sides, and making a binding decision that settles the matter.
An MNR staff attorney is always present to help lead and structure the hearing but does not influence or vote on the Hearing Panel’s decision.
How to File a Request for Voluntary Arbitration
Step 1: Complete this form online: A-2: Request and Agreement to Arbitrate.
Step 2: Attach a written statement of the situation, marked as Exhibit I, and any other documentation, including:
- Listing agreements
- Purchase agreements
- Buyer representation agreements
- MLS datasheets
- Or any other evidence that supports your request
Minnesota Realtors® online filing process lets you upload any documents or exhibits.
Step 3: File your request within 180 days after closing the transaction, if any, or within 180 days after the facts constituting the arbitrable matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, of when the issue leading to the complaint became known—whichever is later.
Step 4: Pay the $250 filing fee online.
The fee is:
- Fully refunded to the winning party
- Partially refunded to each party in a split decision
- Partially refunded to parties who settle more than 24 hours before the hearing and provide immediate notice to Minnesota Realtors®*
*These refunds are only given in certain circumstances. See our Fee Schedule for more information.