As a listing broker, can you require that a cooperating broker attend all your showings?

The Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR) Brokerage Counseling Hotline has received several questions regarding open houses, procuring cause, and a listing broker’s ability to condition the terms under which a cooperating broker may be entitled to compensation offered on the MLS.
 
Under the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) model MLS rules, the provisions of which are followed by many- if not most- MLSs, the unilateral offer of compensation to other members is “unconditional except that entitlement to compensation is determined by the cooperating broker’s performance as the procuring cause of the sale.” Thus, by attempting to require certain actions or conditions on the part of paying a co-broke commission (such as you must accompany the buyer on all showings) the listing broker is then conditioning the offer of compensation and therefore creating a stipulation that, while not illegal, would be inconsistent with the rules most MLSs follow and therefore make the listing unavailable for submission.  

For example, offering a commission in MLS establishes a unilateral contract, which is accepted by the co-broke when they take the 1st step, then creating a chain of events, which establishes the procuring cause of the sale i.e. who is entitled to the commission. Though it may be true that accompanying one’s buyer to all showings of the property would certainly be helpful in establishing that the co-broke is procuring cause, failure to do so does not automatically mean that they are not procuring cause.  Members with questions or concerns regarding the rules of their MLS should review them for clarification. For more information, you can call the GBAR Brokerage Counseling Hotline at 617-399-7869. 

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