You are working on a lease renewal with an outside broker.
There are several long email chains that are being used during
the negotiations. Early in one of these email chains, your client
outlines their strategy and sets minimum acceptable terms.
Later in this same chain, the client asks a question that the
broker should answer, so you forward the email to him.
By forwarding the string, you accidentally sent your client’s
negotiation strategy to the outside broker. If discovered, this
information could be used to undermine the negotiations and
would likely result in financial damage to your client.
Article 2 of the IREM Code, “Confidentiality,” and Article 8
of the AMO Code of Professional Ethics, “Disclosure,” put the
burden of protecting proprietary or confidential information onto
the IREM Member or AMO Firm. As IREM Members, we should
always be mindful of any information in our possession that if
divulged, even in error, could potentially be injurious or damaging
to our clients.
You work for a small AMO Firm that is desperately trying to
grow its business. Your firm is bidding for a large management
account. If you don’t win the bid, several members of your team
will have to be laid off. Your boss comes to you to discuss a
strategy that may tip the scales in your favor: The potential client
is very concerned with the online reputation of any firm with
which they work. They view bad ratings of their management
company as unacceptable. Your firm recently received negative
reviews from friends and family of a disgruntled former tenant.
Your boss, a CPM, says that it would only take a few “five-star”
ratings about your company to increase your standing and your
chances of winning the account. He feels the negative reviews
were not true in the first place and asks you to help him create
false accounts and use them to post strong reviews of your firm.
Article 5 of the IREM Code, “Relations with Other Members
of the Profession,” and Article 6 of the AMO Code, “Relations
with Other Organizations in the Profession,” specifically prohibit
“false or misleading statements” and require truthful, factual
statements in professional activities. The IREM Member Pledge
additionally requires members to “maintain the highest moral
and ethical standards” as well as “…recognize and support the
need to preserve and encourage fair and equitable practices
and competition…” As a CPM, you also have the obligation under
Article 13 of the IREM Code, “Duty to Report Violations,” to report
your boss’s possible violations of the Code to IREM if he did make
Technology is a force multiplier that increases our efficiency and agility.
As property managers, we use technology on a daily basis, but few truly
understand how it works and its vulnerabilities. If we are not diligent in our
use of these systems, our actions could result in unintended violations, like
the ones illustrated here, of the IREM Code of Professional Ethics:
The Technical Side
By David G. Barrow, CPM
David Barrow, CPM, ( email@example.com) is vice president of commercial real estate for Dodson Commercial Properties LLC in Richmond, Va,
and a member of IREM’s Ethics Committee.