NAR and the Department of Justice Reach Agreement to Change MLS Rules & Code of Ethics

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop rules that more explicitly state what is already the spirit and intent of NAR’s Code of Ethics and MLS policies regarding providing information about commissions and MLS participation.

What’s in the complaint?
According to the complaint, NAR’s anti-competitive rules, policies, and practices include:

  • Prohibiting NAR-affiliated multiple-listing services (“MLSs”) from disclosing to prospective buyers the amount of commission that the buyer broker will earn if the buyer purchases a home listed on the MLS;
  • Allowing buyer brokers to misrepresent to buyers that a buyer broker services are free;
  • Enabling buyer brokers to filter MLS listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions offered and to exclude homes with lower commissions from consideration by potential home buyers; and
  • Limiting access to the lockboxes that provide licensed brokers with physical access to a home that is for sale to only brokers who are members of a NAR affiliated MLS (note: CCIMLS does not provide lockbox services and this will not apply in our marketplace).

When will these new rules go into practice?
NAR and the DOJ have 45 days to create a final set of rules, starting from the date of the announcement of their agreement (November 19, 2020). We anticipate that the new rules will take effect in the first quarter of 2021.

Read a REALTOR® Magazine article on the settlement, here.

Read a Q&A on the settlement, here.

Read the DOJ complaint, here.