A.I.P.P. Code of Conduct
- Members shall adhere to the highest standards of honesty and professional integrity both in their dealings with the public and in their dealings with each other.
- Members shall conduct their affairs with integrity and dignity.
- Members shall, in particular, refrain from misleading statements and exaggerated claims in their dealings with sellers, buyers and potential buyers.
- Members shall take all possible steps to avoid conflicts of interests and shall decline to deal with any transaction where such conflicts arise.
- Marketing & Sales
- Members shall, if they are developers or sales agents, make it clear that they are or represent the Seller of a property. In any other case the Member must make clear their status and whose interests they represent.
- Members shall always recommend the use of an independent lawyer for international property transactions.
- Members shall not require potential buyers to sign binding preliminary purchase contracts without giving them reasonable opportunity to reflect on the contract and to obtain legal advice. Nothing in this rule shall prevent a Member securing the immediate signature of a reservation contract or similar under which a property is removed from the market for a defined period upon payment of a modest deposit and which does not irrevocably commit the buyer to the purchase of the property.
- Members shall comply with all applicable local laws, including tax laws.
- Members shall accept responsibility for all acts of their staff.
- Relations with AIPP
- Members shall comply with this Code of Conduct and with all rules made by AIPP.
- Members shall respond promptly to correspondence from AIPP.
- Members shall, upon request by AIPP, provide AIPP with copies of any document relating to their dealings with any other person or their business practices which in the opinion of AIPP may be necessary in order to establish the Member’s compliance with his obligations under this code or in connection with the Dispute Resolution Procedure
- All Members, unless exempted by the Board on the basis of their proven previous experience, shall within 6 months of being accepted into membership satisfactorily complete the AIPP Basic Training Course.
- This provision was suspended on 19th March 2009 until further notice: All Business Members must within 12 months of being accepted into membership have at least one relevant representative satisfactorily complete the AIPP country specific training courses relevant to the areas in which they intend to deal with property.
- This provision was suspended on 19th March 2009 until further notice: All employees of Business Members engaged in sales activities must, within 4 months of taking up their appointment, pass an internal or external Basic Training Course approved by AIPP.
- Dispute Resolution
- All Members shall refer any disputes arising as between Members to the Dispute Resolution Procedure.
- All Business Members shall at the outset of their relationship with a seller, buyer or other customer notify them of the existence of this Code of Conduct and of the Dispute Resolution Procedure through their AIPP membership and the associated TPO (The Property Ombudsman) scheme. Both AIPP and TPO logos should be prominently displayed on member websites, promotional literature and in member offices to aid customer understanding.
- If any dispute arises between a Member and any seller, buyer or other customer the Member shall again draw their attention to the existence of the Dispute Resolution Procedure and supply them with a copy of it.
- If the seller, buyer or other customer wishes to do so the Member shall agree to invoke and be bound by the Dispute Resolution Procedure.
- This Code of Conduct, unless the context otherwise requires, shall apply to all aspects of the Members’ activities in connection with International Real Estate including development, marketing, sales, resales, third party introductions and property management.
- This Code of Conduct shall not limit any greater rights that a non Member might enjoy under local law or otherwise
Complaints that an AIPP member has not adhered to the Code of Conduct or rules of AIPP are investigated via the Disciplinary Procedure. This also covers ALL complaints to be made about AIPP Associate Members (not covered in the Dispute Resolution Procedure), as administered by TPO – The Property Ombudsman.
- To investigate alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct, or Rules of membership as set out in the AIPP’s Articles of Association or by the AIPP Board.
- The Disciplinary Procedure is not to be used to investigate alleged inadequate service or to deal with civil disputes between Members or Members and the public.
- Any matters involving civil disputes shall be referred to the AIPP’s Dispute Resolution Procedure.
2.The Disciplinary Secretary
- The AIPP Board shall, from time to time, appoint a person to act as the Complaints Secretary.
- That person need not be a member of AIPP.
3.The Disciplinary Committee
- The AIPP Board shall elect a pool of AIPP members and lay persons to serve on the Disciplinary Committee. Each member of the committee shall serve for a period of 3 years and may be re-elected.
- The committee shall be divided into 3 parts:
- There shall be up to six legally qualified persons on the complaints committee.
- Estate agents or developers. There shall be up to tenestate agent or developer members of AIPP on the complaints committee.
- Other members and lay persons. There shall be up to ten persons on the Disciplinary Committee elected either from the members of AIPP who are not estate agents, developers or lawyers, or from outside the international property industry as lay persons.
4.The Disciplinary Panel
- When the need arises to deal with a disciplinary matter the Complaints Secretary shall form a Disciplinary Panel by inviting from the Disciplinary Committee one legallly qualified person, one estate agent or developer member, and one person from the ‘other members and lay persons’ pool.
- The role of the Disciplinary Panel will be to assess disciplinary cases brought to the AIPP and exercise disciplinary powers in accordance with this Disciplinary Procedure, and the AIPP’s Rules.
5.Starting the Disciplinary Process
- The disciplinary process shall be started by:
- A referral of an issue by the Board of AIPP.
- A complaint from any other person.
- In cases where the complaint is made by any other person, that person should first seek to use and complete the Member’s own complaints procedure, if such a procedure is in place and that person is eligible to access it.
- In either case the complaint should be submitted to the Complaints Secretary using AIPP’s Disciplinary Procedure Complaint Form, to be completed in full and supported by any relevant documented evidence.
- A complaint cannot be considered unless it is submitted in writing and identifies the name and contact information of the complainant.
- Complaints will only be accepted if they fall within the context of the AIPP’s Rules and Code of Conduct.
- If a complaint appears to fall within this context, the Complaints Secretary shall enter the details of the complaint in the Register of Complaints and may take such steps as may be appropriate to clarify the issues raised.
- If there is any ongoing or proposed legal action or other formal dispute resolution related to the complaint investigation of the complaint will be suspended, in most circumstances, until this is concluded.
- If there is no reason to suspend investigation of the complaint under 5.7, a copy of the complaint along with any submitted evidence will be sent to the Member concerned, and they will be asked to respond within the context of the AIPP’s Rules and Code of Conduct within 21 days.
6.The Initial Assessment
- A copy of the complaint and the Member’s response will be assessed by an AIPP Disciplinary Panel.
- This assessment will be based on the paperwork submissions only.
- The Disciplinary Panel have the power to reject complaints at this stage if they do not find the complaint to be justified.
- If the Disciplinary Panel find that further investigation is required, the case will be referred to a Disciplinary Hearing.
- If the case is to proceed to a Disciplinary Hearing, a copy of the Member’s response will be sent to the complainant and 21 days will be allowed for the submission of any additional comments and/or evidence. Late submissions will only be accepted by means of a documented late submissions form, and at the AIPP’s discretion.
- If further comments and/or evidence are submitted, a copy will be sent to the Member for their final submissions. No further correspondence will take place with the complainant, unless additional, specific information is required.
8.The Disciplinary Hearing
- The Complaints Secretary will form a Disciplinary Panel for the hearing. This Panel may or may not be constituted by the same committee members as the initial assessment.
- The Panel will make an assessment of the documentation submitted by both parties.
- The complainant will be provided the opportunity to make verbal testimony to the Disciplinary Panel. Should they wish to be represented by any other person or have legal representation, they should confirm the name of the person representing them 7 days prior to the hearing date.
- The Member will be provided the opportunity to make verbal testimony to the Disciplinary Panel. In the case of Corporate Members, or if the Member wishes to have legal representation, the Member should confirm the name of the person representing them 7 days prior to the hearing date.
- The Disciplinary Panel will decide whether or not the evidence supports the complaint that a breach of AIPP’s Code of Conduct or Rules has occurred.
- If the Disciplinary Panel finds that a breach of the Code of Conduct or Rules of AIPP has occurred the Panel may do any one or more of the following:
- Impose any sanction specifically authorised bythe Rules of the AIPP.
- Reprimand the Member concerned.
- In the case of Business or Franchise Members, impose a fine up to the maximum permitted in the Rules.
- Recommend to the Board that the membership of the Member the subject of the referral or complaint should be suspended for a specified period, or until certain conditions are met.
- Recommend to the Board that the Member the subject of the referral or complaint should be expelled.
- Order the Member the subject of the referral or complaint to pay the costs of the Disciplinary Hearing.
- Payment of any fine or order of costs shall be made to AIPP within 30 days of it being demanded, or by way of a payment plan if specifically authorised by AIPP.
9.Conduct of the Disciplinary Panel
- The Disciplinary Panel shall conduct its affairs in a manner consistent with the administration of justice and the principles of fairness.
- The Panel shall attempt to establish the facts, and apply these to the context of the Code of Conduct and Rules of AIPP and, on the basis of the law of England, reach a reasoned conclusion as to whether the referral or complaint is justified.
- Subject to these requirements the Panel may fix its own procedure on a case by case basis.
- In considering the level of sanction to be applied the Disciplinary Panel will take account of relevant factors including, but not limited to, the profit or gain to the Member as a result of the assessed misconduct, the steps taken by the Member to rectify the matter, any actual loss incurred by the complainant, and the relative size of the Member company.
10.Notification of Decisions
- At the conclusion of this Disciplinary Procedure the complainant will be notified in writing that the complaint was dealt with in accordance with this process and was either dismissed, or upheld. If upheld, notification of the sanction(s) applied will be given.
- The decisions of the Disciplinary Panel shall be communicated to the Member and to the Board of AIPP in writing.
- AIPP reserves the right to publish any decision by the Disciplinary Panel to uphold a complaint, and any sanctions applied.
- The Disciplinary Panel will not engage in correspondence with either party, and cases will not be reopened, subject to the provisions of clause 11.
- Any Member removed from the AIPP as a result of disciplinary action may appeal to the next meeting of members, in accordance with the AIPP rules governing the apeals procedure at that time.
Amended 23rd June 2014.
Please note that Network Members are not covered by the TPO Complaint Process or the AIPP Disciplinary Process.