Ethics and deontology

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Ethics and deontology

When a real estate professional becomes a member of FNAIM, he or she agrees to comply with the Ethics and Deontological Code of the National Real Estate Federation. The current version of the Code includes the provisions of Decree no. 2015-1090 of 28 August 2015 – applying the ALUR Law – which lays down the deontological rules that have applied to all real estate professionals since 1 September 2015 (Articles 33.3 to 33.14).
 

General principles
In accordance with its Articles of Association, the purpose of the Federation is to ensure the following:
– the representation and defence of the professional and economic interests of the members of subscribing organisations at all levels, including in relation to the European Union;
– the implementation of all actions, measures and provisions that might develop the integrity and influence of these professions and the promotion of its image and reputation with the public;
– the maintenance of collegial ties among all the members of the federated bodies;
– the development of a partnership policy with the representative trade union organisations for professionals and all structures representing the professions and occupations described in Article 1 of its Articles of Association who are signatories to a protocol that provides, inter alia, for a separate deontology to be provided for consumers of high-quality services;
–  the study of all issues associated with the regulation and exercise of the professions and the business activities it represents or those  that might exercise an influence over them, including but not limited to a study of all legislative, regulatory, economic and social measures and reforms;
– training, including professional training and continuing education, and preparation for and attendance at professional examinations.
Professionals who belong to FNAIM believe that the legitimacy of their presence in the market and the trust their clients show in them depend on necessary compliance with ethical and deontological rules, thereby providing clients with guarantees of a high standard of service and morals. The Ethical and Deontological Code sets out these rules and underlies the commitment to professionalism made by the members of FNAIM. Real estate professionals are strictly bound to them merely by virtue of being affiliated with a professional organization that is a member of the National Real Estate Federation (FNAIM).
 

Compliance with the law, regulations and deontological rules
All professionals who belong to FNAIM carry out their work in strict compliance with the laws, decrees and regulatory texts in force, FNAIM's Articles of Association and internal rules, the Code of Ethics and Deontology, the deontological rules established by Decree no. 2015-1090 on 28 August 2005 (which established the rules making up the deontological code applying to certain individuals who carry out activities involving transactions and the management of properties and business assets) and the specific additional rules described below. The deontological rules set forth in Decree dated 28 August 2015, as well as those that complete them, apply to professionals who are members of FNAIM, whether or not they carry out activities relating to Law no. 70-9 of 2 January 1970.
 

Area of application of the Code of Ethics and Deontology
 
I. This code sets out the deontological rules that bind persons carrying out one or more of the activities described in Article 1 of Law no. 70-9 of 2 January 1970, which governs the terms and conditions for carrying out activities relating to certain transactions regarding properties and business assets, persons who holds a professional card issued pursuant to the terms and conditions of Article 3 of said law and persons whose activities have been subject to a prior declaration in accordance with Article 8-1 of said Law. Where the persons mentioned above are legal persons, their legal and statutory representatives are subject to the rules of this code.
 
II. The activities described in I, when carried out on a habitual basis, and even as a secondary activity, relating to the assets of others are as follows:
1. The activities of a real estate agent, which consists in undertaking or assisting with the transactions listed in points 1, 5 and 8 of Article 1 of the above-mentioned Law of 2 January 1970:
– the purchase, sale, research, exchange, lease or sub-lease, whether seasonal or not, and whether furnished or unfurnished, of existing or yet-to-be-built properties;
– the purchase, sale or management-leasing of business assets;
– the transfer of livestock, whether dead or alive;
– subscription to or the purchase or sale of shares or quotas of real estate companies or participatory housing companies that give rise to the allocation of premises by possession or ownership;
– the purchase or sale of non-negotiable capital assets, where said assets include a building or business;
– the conclusion of all contracts for the shared possession of a building governed by Article L. 121-60 et seq. of the Consumer Code.
 
2. The activities of a property manager, as described in point 6 of Article 1 of the Law of 2 January 1970 , consisting in undertaking or assisting with real property management operations;
 
3. The activities of a co-owners' association as described in point 9 of Article 1 of the Law of 2 January 1970, when carried out in the context of Law no. 65-557 of 10 July 1965, which establishes the status of joint ownership of existing buildings;
 
4. The activities of list traders, as described in point 7 of Article 1 of the Law of 2 January 1970 consisting in selling lists of files, excluding publications in the press, containing purchase, sale, lease or sub-lease offers for furnished or unfurnished existing or yet-to-be-built buildings or offers for the sale of business assets.
 
Professional ethics
The persons identified in Article 1 carry out their profession with conscience, dignity, loyalty, sincerity and probity. By their conduct and their words, they commit themselves to offering the best possible image of their profession. They are prohibited from any conduct, action or omission that might cause harm to the profession as a whole.
 
Compliance with laws and regulations
When carrying out their activities, the persons identified in Article 1 act in strict compliance with the laws and regulatory texts in force, and with the provisions of this code.
In particular, they undertake as follows:
1.   Not to practice any of the forms of discrimination set forth in Article 225-1 of the Penal Code with regard to both natural and legal persons;
2.   To ensure compliance with the obligations imposed on them with regard to the fight against money-laundering and terrorism funding, pursuant to Article L. 561-2 of the Monetary and Financial Code;
3.   To ensure compliance with the provisions of Law no. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Data Processing, Data Files and Individual Liberties;
4.   To refuse to provide assistance when requested to do so in order to carry out fraudulent acts
 
Skills
–  The persons identified in Article 1 must be in possession of the theoretical and practical knowledge required to perform their activities.
– They keep themselves informed of legislative and regulatory developments that relate to their activities or that may influence the interests with which they are entrusted.
– They must be aware of the conditions of the markets in which they are required to intervene.
– They take the necessary measures to comply with their continuing education obligations, and ensure that those of their co-workers who are entitled to negotiate, mediate or enter into undertakings on their behalf and their branch managers fulfil their continuing education obligations.
– They undertake to refuse tasks for which they do not have the required skills or, where necessary, to use any qualified external person of their choice.
In this latter case, they inform their clients of the nature of the services involved and the identity of the external person whom they have called on, and ensure said person’s professional qualities.
 
Organization and management of enterprises
The persons identified in Article 1 ensure that the organizational and operating modalities applicable to the structures that carry out their activities enable them to comply with the legal and regulatory provisions in force, as well with as the provisions of this code. In particular, they ensure the effective management of the enterprise and their managers, subject to their right to appoint managers.
 
When they authorize a colleague to negotiate, mediate or enter into an undertaking on their behalf, or where they appoint a manager, they ensure that these persons satisfy all the conditions established by the law and regulations and that they have all the necessary skills and qualifications to perform their tasks properly. In particular, where a colleague who is so authorized is not an employee, they ensure that said person is registered on the special register of sales agents, and that he or she has taken out an insurance policy covering the financial consequences of his or her professional liability. The persons listed in Article 1 clearly and exhaustively explain the extent of the powers granted in an act appointing a manager or in a certification of authorization drafted in accordance with Article 9 of Decree no. 72-768 of 20 July 1972, which established the terms of application of the above-mentioned Law no. 70-9 of 2 January 1970.
 
Transparency
In compliance with their legal and regulatory obligations, the persons identified in Article 1 provide the public, their principals and other parties to the transactions they have been commissioned to collaborate on with accurate, intelligible and complete information on their professional activities, including any secondary or additional services, the amounts of their fees and the way in which they are calculated, their skills and their professional qualifications. They undertake as follows:
 
1. To show their professional card, and to ensure that their co-workers show their certificate of authorization and that their managers show their receipt for their prior statement of business activity at the request of any interested party;
 
2. To keep the identity of the persons taking part in the performance of the tasks entrusted to them at the disposal of their principals and other parties to the transactions they have been commissioned to carry our;
 
3. To provide the details of their professional liability insurer and, where applicable, their guarantor, on first demand;
 
4. Where they are asked to prepare an estimate of value, to inform their client that said estimate does not constitute an expert appraisal.
 
Confidentiality
As part of their confidentiality obligation, as set forth in Article 13-3 of the above-mentioned Law dated 2 January 1970, the persons identified in Article 1 exercise prudence and discretion when they use personal data and information relating to their principals and third parties of which they become aware in the exercise of their functions, as well as when they disclose issues relating to their appointment. They ensure that their co-workers and managers act with the same prudence and the same discretion.
They are not, however, bound by this confidentiality obligation:
1. Where legal or regulatory provisions oblige or authorize them to communicate them, including where they are obliged to give evidence in legal proceedings;
2. Where the interested parties relieve them of this obligation;
3. When defending themselves in legal or disciplinary proceedings.
 
Defence of interests at issue
When performing the tasks with which they have been entrusted, the persons identified in Article 1 promote the lawful interests of their principals in compliance with the rights and interests of the other parties to the transactions they have been appointed to work on.
They undertake as follows:
1.   That any private agreements they prepare will express the agreements made between the parties. They unequivocally ensure that they contain full information, and seek to harmonies their interests so that neither one party nor the other derives benefits alone;
2.   That they will use prudence, ensuring that they do not put the situation of their principals or other parties to the transactions they have been commissioned to perform, or their own, at risk;
3.   That they will communicate to their principals and the other parties to the transactions they have been commissioned to perform all information that will assist them to take their decisions in a free, enlightened manner;
4.   That they will provide statements to their principals on the performance of their task regularly and as quickly as possible and warn them of any problems they have encountered;
5.   That they will transmit all proposals relating to the task entrusted to them as quickly as possible;
6.   That they will transmit all funds and documents relating to the principals within a reasonable period, either to the principals themselves or to any agent said principals may have appointed.
 
Conflicts of interest
The persons identified in Article 1 ensure that they do not have conflicts of interest with their principals or with the other parties to the transactions they have been commissioned to perform. They ensure that the exercise of associated or connected activities does not give rise to any conflict of interest.
In particular, they undertake as follows:
1.   That they will not acquire, or cause to be acquired by a relative or any body of any kind in which they hold a share, either in part or in whole, the real property asset with regard to which they have been given a mandate, unless they inform their principal of their plan;
2.   That they will inform the purchaser of their status in the event that a property that wholly or partly belongs to them is put on sale;
3.   That they will not agree to appraise a property in which they possess an interest or are thinking of acquiring an interest without revealing as such in their appraisal;
4.   That they will not receive any remuneration or benefit of any nature whatsoever for expenses incurred on behalf of a principal unless they have first obtained said principal's consent to the expenses being incurred. The manner in which suppliers are selected and their products or services invoiced must be transparent.
5.   That they will inform their principals and the other parties to the transactions they have been commissioned to perform of the possibility of a conflict of interest with or between them and the reasons therefor, including without limitation any direct links of a financial or legal nature that they, their branch managers or their authorized co-workers have with the enterprises, banks and financial companies whose services they are proposing, and generally of the existence of any direct or indirect personal interest in the performance of their task.
 
Collegiality
In the performance of their activities, the persons identified in Article 1 engage in collegial relationships among themselves in a context of free, healthy and fair competition. They refrain from any harmful or malicious words or actions and from any steps or manoeuvres that might cause harm to their colleagues or that might denigrate or discredit them. They avoid all conflicts with their colleagues that might adversely affect the interests of the principals and other parties to transactions they have been commissioned to perform. They are forbidden to incite prospects or clients of a colleague to end their business relationship with said colleague. They refrain from providing erroneous material facts with a view to diverting clients for their own benefit. They cannot issue an opinion on the professional practices of a colleague unless they have first been provided with a request to do so. They must use prudence, restraint and tact when expressing an opinion. If they have a union role in a professional union or have any other elected or representative function, they refrain from taking advantage of their position for commercial ends. If they are aware of a breach of the deontological code by a colleague in the exercise of his or her profession, they refrain from sharing criticisms with clients, and refer them to their colleague immediately.
 
Settlement of disputes
The persons identified in Article 1 seek to resolve any disputes arising with their principals, the other parties involved in the transactions they have been commissioned to perform and their colleagues in an amicable fashion. They respond to complaints from them in good faith and within a reasonable period.
 
Discipline
Where the persons identified in Article 1 are the subject of disciplinary proceedings due to a failure to comply with the laws and regulations and with the obligations set forth in this code due to serious negligence committed in the exercise of their activities, they avoid all forms of conduct that may hinder or harm the smooth operation of a disciplinary action commenced before the commission for the oversight of transactions and real property management activities described in Article 13-5 of the above-mentioned Law of 2 January 1970. They comply with the decisions issued by the commission and, where applicable, by the administrative courts in relation to disciplinary matters.
 
Requirement of continuing education
Professionals who are members of FNAIM follow a minimum cycle of annual training in accordance with the provisions established by the competent federal authorities. They are free to use the service providers of their choice for this purpose. Certification of compliance with this obligation issued where the quality of training has been approved by FNAIM.
 
A qualifying course for co-workers
Professionals who are members of FNAIM implement and keep current an individualized pathway for integrating and training their co-workers, including the training required after their skills have been evaluated, and in particular knowledge of the minimum legal and technical information that must be known. The integration and training course appears in the co-workers' files.