NAR MLS Policy Update

Andrew Sims DABR Members Only

At the 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Convention and Expo in Chicago, the following amendments were approved by the NAR Board of Directors at their annual meeting.

1. “MLS of Choice” – Amendment to MLS Policy Statements 7.42 and 7.43

These amendments prevent MLSs from requiring agents to pay for their service even if they don’t want it, so long as agents can prove they subscribe to a different MLS.

MLSs will be required to provide a no-cost waiver of all MLS fees for such agents, and MLSs may, if they choose, require agents and their brokers to sign a certification for non-use of their MLS services, which, if violated, can include penalties (such as back-billing) and termination of the waiver.

MLS Policy Statement 7.42
Previously allowed Realtor-affiliated MLSs to require that all of the licensed salespersons affiliated with a broker’s office subscribe to the MLS — if a broker is a member of the MLS and that broker’s office lies within the territorial jurisdiction of the association that owns and operates the MLS.

MLS Policy Statement 7.43
Policy now includes the waiver mandate.

RATIONALE: According to the brokers pushing for change, the policy as-is hurt agent recruiting and retention; forced brokers or their agents to pay for MLS services they did not want or find valuable; and discriminated against newer, tech-enabled business models.

NOTE: The board voted to amend the implementation date of the “MLS of Choice” policy to July 1, 2018 from March 1, 2018.

2. Sold data
Amendment to MLS Policy Statement 7.58 to require MLSs to, at broker request, provide access to all available sold data maintained by the MLS starting from January 1, 2012 for display on the broker’s website.
— The policy had previously required MLSs to provide a minimum of three years of sold listing data.
— The amended policy keeps the existing exception for areas where sold information is not publicly accessible.
— Rationale behind the policy change was to allow brokers to compete on a level playing field with third-party listings portals, which do not have the three-year limitation.

3. Property search results
Amendment the same policy, 7.58, to authorize brokers to return search results on their websites with no less than 500 listings or 50 percent of the MLS, whichever is less.
— This increases the previous minimum number of results to property searches that MLSs can mandate, which were previously no less than 100 listings or 5 percent of the MLS, whichever is less.
— The policy change, also meant to help broker websites compete, offers “less restrictive search parameters” and “a more robust search functionality,” according to NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee.

4. MLS subscriber orientation
Amendment to MLS Policy Statement 7.92 to require MLSs to make a remote training option for MLS orientation available to agents and brokers. The policy change is meant to ease potential administrative burdens on brokers and agents.