Territorial Jurisdication FAQs

Questions? Contact Gerry Allen at 202-383-1109.

  1. What does this policy do?
  2. Why does NAR have this policy?
  3. Does the policy allow an association to act outside of their jurisdiction?
  4. What happens if one association does not want another association acting in their association’s territorial jurisdiction?
  5. What if my association has an existing agreement with our neighboring association on how we use advocacy resources in each other’s territorial jurisdiction?
  6. What if my state association has a written policy for all local associations in my state on how local associations and the state associations can use advocacy resources outside of their association’s territorial jurisdiction?
  7. Can one local association “veto” another association from taking advocacy action in their association?
  8. Who has the “burden of proof” when attempting to engage in advocacy activity outside of their association?
  9. What is considered “advocacy” for this policy?
  10. Does the NAR “Three Way Agreement” already define what local and state associations can do regarding advocacy?
  11. Does the NAR “Board of Choice” allow state and local associations to engage in advocacy activity outside their territorial jurisdiction?
  12. What if my local association conducts advocacy activities in another board jurisdiction NOT using RP programs without their permission? What happens?
  13. If a dispute goes to a REALTOR® Party Committee for mediation, how long will it take to get an answer?
  14. Does this policy cover RPAC contributions to local and state candidates?
  15. Does this policy cover RPAC contributions to local or state candidates if the local association in question has their own political action committee (PAC)?
  16. Is the decision of the REALTOR® Party Committee regarding allowing or prohibiting advocacy activity in another territorial jurisdiction appealable?
  17. What if more than one associations shares a legislative district for a local candidate? Do all of the local associations have to agree to engage in advocacy activity?
  18. Can state associations support local candidates for office without the agreement of the local association?
  19. Can a local association support a state candidate without the agreement of the state association?
  20. Can a local or state associations support a federal candidate without the agreement of NAR?
  21. Can an association that has members living in the territorial jurisdiction of another association be able to send solicitations for RPAC to their members?
  22. My association has an office in another association’s territorial jurisdiction. Am I still able to host events at that office without violating this policy?
  23. Our local association conference is held in a hotel in another association’s territorial jurisdiction. Will we need permission of that other local association to have our conference in their territorial jurisdiction?
  24. Our association rents space in another local association’s territorial jurisdiction to hold candidate interviews for candidates within our territorial jurisdiction. Is that a violation of the policy?
  25. My association has 3,000 members. Association B next door has 300 members. 900 of my 3,000 local association members work in the other association’s territorial jurisdiction. Since I have 3 times the members of the other association, do I still have to cooperate to take advocacy action in their territory?
  26. We have tried to work with a neighboring association in the past, but that association just ignores our outreach and does nothing. Will their refusal to cooperate in advocacy activity make it impossible for my association to engage in REALTOR® issues that may affect my members who work in that jurisdiction?
  27. If an association is found in violation of this policy and sanctions are approved that remove an association’s access to REALTOR® Party resources, would this lack of access to resources negatively impact an association’s ability to meet NAR Core Standards Program?
  28. Do local associations need a written agreement on how they interact regarding the use of advocacy resources if they have had an unwritten agreement for years?
  29. Two associations endorse different candidates in a political district that they share. Neither discusses their endorsement with the other association. Are they in violation of the policy and would they be sanctioned for their actions.
  30. Our GAD attends town/city council and committee meetings outside of our jurisdiction, is she able to continue this and report back to our members under this new policy?
  31. We invite elected officials outside of our jurisdiction to speak at membership meetings, hold town halls, and meet in small groups with our Board of Directors or Major investors; may we continue this under this new policy?
  32. Please can you clarify what can be done when two associations share a county? Part of our jurisdiction is in an unincorporated portion of the county, yet the neighboring board holds the majority of the jurisdiction?

What does this policy do?

There are two sections to the policy. The first section relates to how associations can apply for and receive NAR REALTOR® Party funds. The second section relates to the use of any advocacy funding by a state or local associations.

Both sections state the following:

  1. The local, state or National Associations of REALTORS® controls the advocacy activity within their respective territorial jurisdictions.
    • Local associations control advocacy pertaining to local government in their local territorial jurisdiction.
    • State associations control advocacy pertaining to state government in their state.
    • NAR controls advocacy pertaining to the federal government.
  2. Local or state associations that want to conduct advocacy outside of their defined territorial jurisdiction must cooperate to do so (by written agreement), or follow a policy that allows for associations that cannot agree on advocacy action to resolve their disputes.
  3. Associations that take advocacy action outside of this proposed policy would be subject to sanctions.

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Why does NAR have this policy?

Situations have developed since the beginning of the REALTOR® Party program in 2012 where REALTOR® Associations have desired to take advocacy action outside of their territorial jurisdiction. There was no existing NAR policy on this issue, so state and local associations took different approaches on managing their own resources, as well as NAR resources, in engaging in advocacy activity outside their associations. Some associations worked together to use all available resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Other associations acted on their own, sometimes getting involved in another association’s territory without notifying or consulting on what might be the best approach. The lack of any defined policy allowed for confusion on how to best use available advocacy resources.

In 2016, NAR considered policy to define how local and state associations should approach advocacy activities outside of their territorial jurisdiction. That policy was considered by the NAR Board of Directors and referred back to committee for further discussion. The NAR Leadership Team requested a Work Group be formed to consider this issue and make recommendations for reconsideration by the NAR Board of Directors.

Those recommendations were considered and passed by the NAR Board of Directors in November 2017.

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Does the policy allow an association to act outside of their jurisdiction?

Yes, through cooperation with the associations where the activity is to take place or by following the process specified by the policy.

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What happens if one association does not want another association acting in their association’s territorial jurisdiction?

First, local associations are encouraged to work together to determine the most effective and efficient use of REALTOR® resources. If the associations meet an impasse in the best use of resources, the state association can act as a mediator to assist with the process. If the state association cannot help reach an agreement, the NAR REALTOR® Party committee that oversees the area of contention (campaign activity, RPAC contributions and grant requests) will hear from all parties involved and render a decision based on the facts presented.

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What if my association has an existing agreement with our neighboring association on how we use advocacy resources in each other’s territorial jurisdiction?

The agreement between the two associations would control how advocacy resources are used. Associations are encouraged to enter into agreements with other associations on the use of advocacy resources, especially where one or more local associations share a political subdivision inside their respective territorial jurisdictions. The policy does state that agreement between associations on the use of advocacy resources should be in writing.

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What if my state association has a written policy for all local associations in my state on how local associations and the state associations can use advocacy resources outside of their association’s territorial jurisdiction?

The state association policy would control how advocacy resources are used.

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Can one local association “veto” another association from taking advocacy action in their association?

No. Associations would have the right to “tell their side of the story” if they did not want to have another association act inside their territory, but they cannot “veto” another association from acting in their area. An association not responding to another association’s request to take action in their jurisdiction will not stop the request. The REALTOR® Party Committee deciding this issue will consider a non-response in reaching a decision regarding advocacy activity outside of the applying association’s jurisdiction.

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Who has the “burden of proof” when attempting to engage in advocacy activity outside of their association?

The association that is trying to take action outside of their territorial jurisdiction. The responsibility for any action outside of an association’s territorial jurisdiction must be stated and proven by the applying association. The other affected associations, as well as the state association, will also have an opportunity to support, oppose or take no position regarding the applying association’s request.

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What is considered “advocacy” for this policy?

The policy defines advocacy as: any activity performed by a state or local association, which aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions, including, but not limited to:

  1. Fundraising,
  2. Political expenditures or support of any kind, including direct contributions to candidates or political committees as well as any campaign support or independent expenditure activity,
  3. Member advocacy outreach communications,
  4. Lobbying activities.

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Does the NAR “Three Way Agreement” already define what local and state associations can do regarding advocacy?

No. The “Three Way Agreement”, in its simplest form, is an agreement between NAR and state and local associations related solely to membership of individuals and associations. It organizes REALTORS® into a federated membership and provides a structure for the efficient use of resources. The “Three Way Agreement” does not provide any association the right to conduct advocacy activities in another association’s territory.

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Does the NAR “Board of Choice” allow state and local associations to engage in advocacy activity outside their territorial jurisdiction?

No. The NAR “Board of Choice” policy permits REALTOR® principals to join a local association of their choice based on factors most important to them, without being restricted by the location of their real estate office. There have been suggestions by some associations that “Board of Choice” allows local associations to conduct advocacy activity in other local association’s territory because members of one association may live within the area of another association’s territorial jurisdiction. The policy of “Board of Choice” does not provide any such right to any local association.

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What if my local association conducts advocacy activities in another board jurisdiction NOT using RP programs without their permission? What happens?

The policy states that any association acting outside of the policy would be subject to sanctions, which could include the loss of REALTOR® Party funding for a specific time or loss of other NAR advocacy resources for a specific time. Sanctions would be determined and recommended by the REALTOR® Party Committee with jurisdiction over the issue in question. All potential sanctions would be reviewed and approved by the NAR Leadership Team before being implemented.

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If a dispute goes to a REALTOR® Party Committee for mediation, how long will it take to get an answer?

Every effort will be made, once a local or state association makes a request for a hearing, to schedule that hearing in three to five business days. Exigent circumstances that call for a faster response will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Does this policy cover RPAC contributions to local and state candidates?

Yes. Local associations would be allowed to provide RPAC funds to any candidate for local office within their association’s territorial jurisdiction. If a local association wanted to provide funds to a local candidate outside of their association’s territorial jurisdiction, or to a state level candidate, the local association would either need the permission of the local or state association affected by the request, or to follow the procedure spelled out for resolving any disagreement between the parties.

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Does this policy cover RPAC contributions to local or state candidates if the local association in question has their own political action committee (PAC)?

Yes. A local association having their own PAC does not change their ability to engage in advocacy activity outside of their territorial jurisdiction.

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Is the decision of the REALTOR® Party Committee regarding allowing or prohibiting advocacy activity in another territorial jurisdiction appealable?

No. Decisions made by the respective REALTOR® Party Committee are final, except on the matter of sanctions.

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What if more than one associations shares a legislative district for a local candidate? Do all of the local associations have to agree to engage in advocacy activity?

Yes. All associations must agree to the activity. If there is no agreement, all associations and the state associations will have an opportunity to discuss why or why not the advocacy activity should happen and the respective REALTOR® Party Committee will make a decision on the appropriate action.

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Can state associations support local candidates for office without the agreement of the local association?

No. A state association cannot support a local candidate without first seeking the agreement of the local associations that have jurisdiction over the local candidate in question.

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Can a local association support a state candidate without the agreement of the state association?

No. The local association cannot support a state candidate without first seeking the agreement of the state association.

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Can a local or state associations support a federal candidate without the agreement of NAR?

No. A local association or a state association cannot support a federal candidate without first seeking the agreement of NAR.

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Can an association that has members living in the territorial jurisdiction of another association be able to send solicitations for RPAC to their members?

Yes. Nothing in the policy limits or controls a local association’s ability to communicate with members of their association.

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My association has an office in another association’s territorial jurisdiction. Am I still able to host events at that office without violating this policy?

Yes. The policy provides that the location of an office, a satellite office or a meeting space that is not within an association’s territorial jurisdiction would not be a violation of this policy.

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Our local association conference is held in a hotel in another association’s territorial jurisdiction. Will we need permission of that other local association to have our conference in their territorial jurisdiction?

No. The act of renting space for a meeting, office or a satellite office does not violate this policy.

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Our association rents space in another local association’s territorial jurisdiction to hold candidate interviews for candidates within our territorial jurisdiction. Is that a violation of the policy?

No.

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Our association rents space in another local association’s territorial jurisdiction to hold candidate interviews for candidates outside of our territorial jurisdiction and we have not contacted the association where this is occurring? Is that a violation of the policy?

Yes, but the location of the meeting has nothing to do with the violation. The violation is from the taking of an action outside of an association’s territorial jurisdiction without cooperating.

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My association has 3,000 members. Association B next door has 300 members. 900 of my 3,000 local association members work in the other association’s territorial jurisdiction. Since I have 3 times the members of the other association, do I still have to cooperate to take advocacy action in their territory?

Yes.

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We have tried to work with a neighboring association in the past, but that association just ignores our outreach and does nothing. Will their refusal to cooperate in advocacy activity make it impossible for my association to engage in REALTOR® issues that may affect my members who work in that jurisdiction?

No. The policy allows associations to come to NAR for decisions if one of the associations will not respond to requests for cooperation. The association will be asked explain their support or opposition to a project and if the association chooses not to respond, their nonresponse can be considered as part of the decision making process.

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If an association is found in violation of this policy and sanctions are approved that remove an association’s access to REALTOR® Party resources, would this lack of access to resources negatively impact an association’s ability to meet NAR Core Standards Program?

Associations would still be responsible for meeting their NAR Core Standards requirements.

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Do local associations need a written agreement on how they interact regarding the use of advocacy resources if they have had an unwritten agreement for years?

The policy states that there must be a written agreement.

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Two associations endorse different candidates in a political district that they share. Neither discusses their endorsement with the other association. Are they in violation of the policy and would they be sanctioned for their actions.

Yes, the associations are both in violation of the policy. The intent of the policy would be to encourage associations to “speak with one voice” by collaborating and cooperating in activity that they share (in the case above a political subdivision). However, the policy does not permit any type of sanction in a retroactive situation. This would be a situation where one association would have to initiate the NAR policy and NAR would alert the state association to engage the parties in trying to reach an agreement on any outstanding advocacy issues. If the state could not assist the local associations in reaching an agreement, the state association could recommend the NAR process for reaching an agreement between the parties. That agreement managed by the NAR process would be subject to sanctions based on a violation by one of the associations.

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Our GAD attends town/city council and committee meetings outside of our jurisdiction, is she able to continue this and report back to our members under this new policy?

Yes, an association GAD would still be able to attend meetings outside of an association’s jurisdiction and report back information to your association’s membership. However, testifying at the meeting or engaging in any other advocacy activity, beyond monitoring, would rise to the level of needing cooperation with the association where the unit of government is located.

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We invite elected officials outside of our jurisdiction to speak at membership meetings, hold town halls, and meet in small groups with our Board of Directors or Major investors; may we continue this under this new policy?

Inviting public officials to speak at an event would not apply to this policy. However, if part of the event had an advocacy component involved (candidate interviewing, lobbying on an in issue), this policy would require your association to work with the local association from where the public official was elected or appointed regarding the use of advocacy resources.

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Please can you clarify what can be done when two associations share a county?  Part of our jurisdiction is in an unincorporated portion of the county, yet the neighboring board holds the majority of the jurisdiction?

Associations that share a political jurisdiction are expected to cooperate and coordinate their efforts relating to a shared political subdivision. If the associations cannot reach an agreement on how to act within the political area, the state association will attempt to work with the local associations to reach a compromise for advocacy activity. If the state association cannot assist in reaching a compromise, the NAR process would be used to reach a decision on how the parties should approach the issue.

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