Many consumers are confused about who regulates real estate licensees but the article below helps clarify the differences between Kentucky REALTORS® and the Kentucky Real Estate Commission.

To help consumers better understand the roles of each group, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has collaborated with the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) to create the article below explaining the difference between a REALTOR® association and a real estate commission.


Don’t know who to call for a complaint? Read this article to find out.


Kentucky REALTORS® often receives questions related to filing a complaint with the KREC, Kentucky real estate laws and regulations, licensure, annual continuing education requirements for licensees, and questions about KREC forms and contracts.

The KREC frequently receives questions that should be directed to Kentucky REALTORS® such as “What is the REALTOR® Code of Ethics?” and “How do I file an ethics complaint?”


Need to file a complaint?

Kentucky REALTORS® ensures the ethical behavior of its REALTOR® members through the professional standards process. A complaint/request can only be processed against someone who is a member of our association and his/her membership will need to be verified. Although the staff of Kentucky REALTORS® is not at liberty to offer any advice on the merits of your complaint, there are several options to consider:

Filing an Ethics Complaint

An ethics complaint may be filed by anyone who believes a REALTOR® has violated the Code of Ethics.  Any complaint reviewed by the Grievance Committee must site a specific article(s) and include a statement as to why that article(s) has been violated given the facts and circumstances of the particular case. Note the complaint must be filed within 180 days (not 6 months) after the facts become known or could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence.

Filing a Request for Arbitration

A request for arbitration may be filed if a contractual relationship exists between two parties and involves a specific monetary amount, which will either be awarded to one of the parties involved or split between the two parties.  Note that parties subject to arbitration must agree to be bound by the award.  Also, the request must be filed within 180 days (not 6 months) after the facts became known or the closing of the transaction, whichever is later.

Please be reminded it is important to attach an explanation of the situation surrounding the complaint/request. Be as specific as possible. Provide any information that would assist the grievance committee in understanding the facts in the situation and making an informed decision.

Ombudsman Service

The purpose of the ombudsman is to provide a knowledgeable, informed contact when REALTOR® members or members of the public have real estate related questions that have not been addressed by an individual broker. The role of the ombudsman is to identify and attempt to facilitate a resolution of misunderstandings and/or disagreements before matters evolve into a formal complaint. The ombudsman will communicate via telephone.

Kentucky REALTORS® staff will send information regarding the service when requested. When the Ombudsman Request Form is submitted to Kentucky REALTORS®, staff will forward the Ombudsman Request to the ombudsman. The ombudsman will contact the complainant within 2 business days and determine the desired outcome, then contact the respondent, then report back information to the complainant. The possible outcomes may include a resolution of the situation or complaint, or the complainant may choose to move forward with an ethics complaint through Kentucky REALTORS®. Other actions may include the complainant seeking legal advice or contacting Kentucky’s real estate licensing authority. The ombudsman will explain the various options after completion of the ombudsman process. The ombudsman will then complete a Report Form and return it to Kentucky REALTORS® within 7 business days of receipt of the Ombudsman Request Form.


If you have any further questions or would like Kentucky REALTORS® to send you one of the above forms, please contact Julie Johnson, Director of Professional Standards and Governance, at 859.263.7377. If you have a question about Kentucky Real Estate Laws, please contact the Kentucky Real Estate Commission at (888) 373-3300.