At Least 3 Ways to Comply
Below are three options for implementing the changes to MLS Policy Statements 7.42 and 7.43. There are likely others as well. In all situations, the principal broker of an office must be an MLS participant before any licensee in that office can receive access to MLS data and services. Waivers are now required where the MLS assesses fees based on each licensee affiliated with an MLS Participant. It is prudent for any waiver forms to include language that explains the penalties and back-payment of subscription fees in case the MLS’s information and services are misused by waiver recipients.
NAR sample waiver form.
How an MLS chooses to implement MLS Policies 7.42 and 7.43 is up to their own local discretion. The needs of the brokers and their relationship with the MLS will be a big part of that decision making process including the need to obtain signed waiver form or verify subscription to a different MLS.
Option 1: The good faith, no-paperwork option
Here, MLSs would only charge for licensees who affirmatively choose to subscribe to the MLS. MLSs would not verify that other licensees of the brokerage office are subscribers to a different MLS. The MLS would simply bill participants and the subscribers who affirmatively opt-in to the service. This is by far the simplest and easiest way to comply with the new changes to MLS Policies 7.42/7.43.
Option 2: The broker-friendly, single waiver form option
Here, the MLS would require participants to execute one waiver form that would specify which licensees in the participant’s office are waived subscription to the MLS. The form would also require the principal broker to attest to the fact that all licensees receiving a waiver are subscribers at another MLS pursuant to the principal broker’s participation in that other MLS.
Option 3: The waiver plus verification option
In addition to requiring the broker to sign the waiver under Option 2, the MLS would also require the broker to provide documentation verifying the licensee's subscription to an alternate MLS.
Verification can include, but is not limited to:
- letter of good standing
Any information above, or other MLS documentation, must be accepted by the MLS.
Note: Any waiver conditions that exceed those in the sample waiver agreements should be reviewed by association legal counsel.
Life After Implementation
- Record keeping – depending on the billing and waiver options implemented locally, MLSs should consider the best course of action to maintain records relative to signed waiver agreements, and the list of subscribers or waiver recipients affiliated with an MLS participant.
- Enforcement – MLSs should consider establishing and consistently applying penalties for misuse of MLS information and services by waiver recipients and unauthorized licensees, including the possible assessment of MLS fees back-billed to a specific date.
There Is Always More