Summary of 2019 MLS Changes

This summary highlights changes in MLS rules and policy adopted in 2018. All changes become effective January 1, 2019, unless indicated otherwise.

Download 2019 MLS Changes (DOC: 79 KB)

For comprehensive background information and additional detail, the Multiple Listing Issues and Policy Committee agenda and minutes are available. The committee meets twice, once in May at the REALTORS® Legislative Meeting and Trade Expo and again in November at the REALTORS® Conference and Expo.

You can also review the shaded portions of the 2019 Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy highlighting all areas that have changed. MLS Policy Statement 7.51 explains effective dates of policy changes and provides the time frame for adopting changes locally

Throughout the summary, underscoring indicates additions and strikeouts indicates deletions. At the end of each policy change, the compliance classification category is noted by the letters:

M Mandatory*
R Recommended
O Optional
I Informational

*Adoption is necessary to ensure compliance with mandatory policies and ensure coverage under the NAR’s insurance policy for associations and MLSs.

Changes to Model MLS Rules and Regulations (all types):

Section 2.3, Right of Cooperating Broker in Presentation of Offer

Cooperating participants or their representatives have the right to participate in the presentation of any offer they secure to purchase or lease to the seller or lessor. They do not have the right to be present at any discussion or evaluation of the offer by the seller or lessor and the listing broker. However, if a seller or lessor gives written instructions to a listing broker that cooperating brokers may not be present when offers they procure are presented, cooperating brokers have the right to a copy of those instructions. This policy is not intended to affect listing brokers’ right to control the establishment of appointments for presentation of offers.

Where the cooperating broker is not present during the presentation of the offer, the cooperating broker can request in writing, and the listing broker must provide, written affirmation stating that the offer has been submitted to the seller, or written notification that the seller has waived the obligation to have the offer presented. M

Section 6, Service Fees and Charges

Recurring Participation Fee: The annual participation fee of each participant shall be an amount equal to $_____ times each salesperson and licensed or certified appraiser who has access to and use of the service, whether licensed as a broker, sales licensee, or licensed or certified appraiser who is employed by or affiliated as an independent contractor with such participant. Payment of such fees shall be made on or before the first day of the fiscal year of the multiple listing service. Fees shall be prorated on a monthly basis.

However, MLSs must provide participants the option of a no-cost waiver of MLS fees, dues, and charges for any licensee or licensed or certified appraiser who can demonstrate subscription to a different MLS or CIE where the principal broker participates. MLSs may, at their discretion, require waiver recipients and their that broker participants to sign a certification for nonuse of its MLS services by their licensees, which can include penalties and termination of the waiver if violated. (Amended 8/2018) M

Note: The changes to this MLS rule became effective in August 2018 when adopted by the National Association’s Leadership Team.

Section 9 Consideration of Alleged Violations

The Committee (Board of Directors) shall give consideration to all written complaints having to do with violations of the rules and regulations. By becoming and remaining a participant, each participant agrees to be subject to these rules and regulations, the enforcement of which are at the sole discretion of the Committee (Board of Directors). M

Section 9.1 Violations of Rules and Regulations

If the alleged offense is a violation of the rules and regulations of the service and does not involve a charge of alleged unethical conduct or request for arbitration, it may be administratively considered and determined by the board of directors of the service, and if a violation is determined, the board of directors may direct the imposition of sanction, provided the recipient of such sanction may request a hearing before the professional standards committee of the association in accordance with the bylaws and rules and regulations of the association of REALTORS® within twenty (20) days following receipt of the directors’ decision.

If, rather than conducting an administrative review, the MLS has a procedure established to conduct hearings, any appeal of the decision of the hearing tribunal may be appealed to the board of directors of the MLS within twenty (20) days of the tribunal’s decision. Alleged violations involving unethical conduct shall be referred to the professional standards committee of the association of REALTORS® for processing in accordance with the professional standards procedures of the association. If the charge alleges a refusal to arbitrate, such charge shall be referred directly to the board of directors of the association of REALTORS®. M

Section 9.2 Complaints of Unethical Conduct

All other complaints of unethical conduct shall be referred by the board of directors of the service to the association of REALTORS® for appropriate action in accordance with the professional standards procedures established in the association’s bylaws. (Amended 11/88)

Section 9.3 Complaints of Unauthorized Use of Listing Content

Any participant who believes another participant has engaged in the unauthorized use or display of listing content, including photographs, images, audio or video recordings, and virtual tours, shall send notice of such alleged unauthorized use to the MLS. Such notice shall be in writing, specifically identify the allegedly unauthorized content, and be delivered to the MLS not more than sixty (60) days after the alleged misuse was first identified. No participant may pursue action over the alleged unauthorized use and display of listing content in a court of law without first completing the notice and response procedures outlined in this Section 9.3 of the MLS rules.

Upon receiving a notice, the committee (Board of Directors) will send the notice to the participant who is accused of unauthorized use. Within ten (10) days from receipt, the participant must either: 1) remove the allegedly unauthorized content, or 2) provide proof to the committee (Board of Directors) that the use is authorized. Any proof submitted will be considered by the Committee (Board of Directors), and a decision of whether it establishes authority to use the listing content will be made within thirty (30) days.

If the Committee (Board of Directors) determines that the use of the content was unauthorized, the Committee (Board of Directors) may issue a sanction pursuant to Section 7 of the MLS rules, including a request to remove and/or stop the use of the unauthorized content within ten (10) days after transmittal of the decision. If the unauthorized use stems from a violation of the MLS rules, that too will be considered at the time of establishing an appropriate sanction.

If after ten (10) days following transmittal of the Committee’s (Board of Director’s) determination the alleged violation remains uncured (i.e. the content is not removed or the rules violation remains uncured), then the complaining party may seek action through a court of law. M

Learn more about the above change to Section 9.3

Section 9.4 MLS Rules Violations

MLS participants may not take legal action against another participant for alleged rules violation(s) unless the complaining participant has first exhausted the remedies provided in these rules. M

Note: Adoption of Sections 9.3 and 9.4 are not required if the MLS has adopted alternative procedures to address alleged misuse of listing content that includes notice to the alleged infringer.

Section 11, Ownership of MLS Compilation and Copyright

By the act of submission of any property listing content to the MLS, the participant represents and warrants that he or she is fully has been authorized to license the property listing content as contemplated by and in compliance with this section and these rules and regulations, and also thereby does grant to the MLS license authority for the MLS to include the property listing content in its copyrighted MLS compilation, and also in any statistical report on comparables. Listing content includes, but is not limited to, photographs, images, graphics, audio and video recordings, virtual tours, drawings, descriptions, remarks, narratives, pricing information, and other details or information related to the listed property.

Each participant who submits listing content to the MLS agrees to defend and hold the MLS and every other participant harmless from and against any liability or claim arising from any inaccuracy of the submitted listing content or any inadequacy of ownership, license, or title to the submitted listing content. M

Changes to Multiple Listing Policy Statements

MLS Policy Statement 7.33, Information Related to Listings of Commercial and Industrial Property

Policy Statement 7.33: Information Related to Listings of Commercial and Industrial Property

An association or association MLS may also publish a compilation of commercial and industrial properties listed with association or MLS members so that prospective cooperating brokers will have the opportunity to contact the listing broker to learn the terms of any cooperative relationship the listing broker wishes to establish. Such a mechanism is not a multiple listing service. If an association or association MLS provides this type of informational function (commonly referred to as a commercial information exchange or CIE) to its members, it shall not publish either the total commission negotiated between the listing broker and the seller or any offers of compensation to cooperating brokers. If a relationship is established between the listing broker and a prospective cooperating broker, it is strongly recommended that the terms and conditions be established in writing prior to the time the cooperating broker commences any efforts to produce a prospective purchaser or lessee. None of the foregoing is intended to preclude a CIE from providing, as a matter of local determination, access to information from CIE compilations to affiliate members of associations or to others engaged in recognized fields of real estate practice or in related fields. (Revised 11/04)

CIE fees, dues and charges: CIE participants must be given the option of a no-cost waiver for any licensee or licensed or certified appraiser who does not use the service and who can demonstrate subscription to a different CIE or MLS where their principal is a participant. CIEs may, at local discretion, require that broker participants sign a certification for nonuse of the CIE’s services by their licensees, which can include penalties and termination of the waiver if violated. M

Note: This policy became effective in August 2018 when adopted by the National Association’s Leadership Team.

MLS Policy Statement 7.43: Waivers of MLS Fees, Dues, and Charges

Recurring MLS fees, dues, and charges may be based upon the total number of real estate brokers, sales licensees, and licensed or certified real estate appraisers affiliated with or employed by an MLS participant.

However, MLSs must provide participants the option of a no-cost waiver of MLS fees, dues, and charges for any licensee or licensed or certified appraiser who can demonstrate subscription to a different MLS or CIE where the principal broker participants. MLSs may, at their discretion, require waiver recipients and their that broker participants to sign a certificate of nonuse of its MLS services by their licensees, which can include penalties and termination of the waiver if violated. M

Note: This policy became effective August 2018 when adopted by the National Association’s Leadership Team.

MLS Policy Statement 7.73, Rights of Cooperating Brokers in Presentation of Offers

Cooperating participants or their representatives have the right to participate in the presentation of any offer they secure to purchase or lease to the seller or lessor. They do not have the right to be present at any discussion or evaluation of the offer by the seller or lessor and the listing broker. However, if a seller or lessor gives written instructions to a listing broker that cooperating brokers may not be present when offers they procure are presented, cooperating brokers have the right to a copy of those instructions. This policy is not intended to affect listing brokers’ right to control the establishment of appointments for presentation of offers.

Where the cooperating broker is not present during the presentation of the offer, the cooperating broker can request in writing, and the listing broker must provide, written affirmation stating that the offer has been submitted to the seller, or written notification that the seller has waived the obligation to have the offer presented. M

View summaries of policy changes that occurred in previous years.

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