On May 27, 2008, NAR and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a favorable settlement, concluding a two-year DOJ investigation (followed by two and a half years of litigation) regarding NAR's multiple listing policy as it pertained to the display of listings from the MLS on brokers' virtual office websites, or VOWs.
In 2008/2009 all MLSs were required by the settlement of U.S. v. NAR, the case brought by the Department of Justice challenging NAR’s previous VOW policy, to repeal any locally adopted rules implementing the previous VOW or ILD (Internet Listing Display) policy, and to certify adoption of the agreed upon new NAR model VOW rules. The following materials were provided to all REALTOR® association and MLS executives explaining the settlement details and the implementation of NAR’s VOW policy.
2008 Direct Mailing Materials Included:
- Cover Letter - Notice of Actions Required by Association Executives and MLSs
- 2008 Virtual Office Website Policy
- Model VOW Rules for MLSs
- Amendment to Section 3 or 4 of Model Bylaws
- Certification Form - Note: Form must be signed
- Frequently Asked Questions (updated June 2016)
- Sample VOW License for MLSs
Model Letter for MLSs to Enforce New Membership Requirement
NAR has created a letter (in both PDF and Word Document form) that MLSs can use when contacting participants who may not meet the revised requirements of the MLS participation.
What the Settlement Accomplishes
The terms of the agreement are a win for NAR, REALTORS®, and consumers, and confirm that MLS participants must be actively engaged in real estate brokerage by actually helping people buy or sell homes.
This ensures they are used for what they were originally intended to do — to help real estate professionals find buyers for clients who want to sell their homes.
Note: For the most up to date Model MLS Rules, please click here.