Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Justice withdrew from its consent to a settlement agreement reach with NAR last year that resolved issues raised by the DOJ concerning brokerage commissions and the MLS system. As a result of this unprecedented move, NAR has announced that the proposed changes to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and MLS rules that it had agreed to implement as part of the settlement are on hold.
The revisions that were to be implemented include the following:
The amount of compensation offered to buyers’ agents for each MLS listing be made publicly available;
Changes to Standard of Practice 12-1 of the Code of Ethics to definitively state that buyers’ agents cannot represent their services as free to clients;
MLS rule revisions to re-affirm that MLSs and brokerages must provide consumers all properties that fit their criteria regardless of compensation offered or the name of the listing brokerage. Notably, this would prohibit MLS listings from being filtered based on compensation amount or the name of the listing broker or agent;
A new requirement that with seller’s prior approval, licensed real estate agents be given access to the lockboxes of properties listed on an MLS, even if the agent does not subscribe to the MLS.
For REALTOR® reaction to the DOJ’s decision you can read the NAR statement from President Charlie Oppler
and view a video
issued in response to the DOJ Settlement action from NAR”s Legal staff.