MLSOK Rules and Guidelines Revisions

MLSOK Rules and Guidelines will be revised to incorporate the below in December 2021. More to follow!

NOVEMBER 15, 2021—The National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors today approved six recommendations from the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee.

1. Policy Statement 8.6: One Data Source. Requires MLSs to offer their participants a single data feed in accordance with the participants’ licensed authorized uses. The rationale is to create efficiencies for brokers who participate in an MLS and who use MLS data for multiple purposes. The data feed must be in compliance with RESO standards.

2. Policy Statement 8.7: Brokerage Back Office Feed. Entitles MLS participants to use, and requires MLSs to provide to participants, a brokerage back-office data feed. The policy defines the data, use, and terms of the feed. There’s no option for participants to opt out of having their listings included. The back-office feed will enable brokerages to better serve their clients and customers by empowering them to use productivity tools and proprietary reports and resources that call for enhanced access to and use of MLS data.

3. Internet Data Exchange (IDX) Policy Statement 7.58 and VOW Policy Statement 7.91: IDX and Vow Broker Attribution. Require that participants’ IDX displays must identify the listing firm and an email or phone number provided by the listing participant in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of listing data.  The same standard would also apply to VOWs but is optional. 

4. Display of listing broker offer of compensation. Requires MLSs to include the listing broker’s offer of compensation for each active listing displayed on its consumer-facing websites and in MLS data feeds provided to participants and subscribers; also requires MLSs to permit participants or subscribers, at their discretion, to share offers of compensation through IDX and VOW displays or through any other form or format provided to clients and consumers. Information about offers of compensation must be accompanied by a disclaimer stating that the offer is made only to participants of the MLS where the listing is filed.

5. MLS Policy Statement 8.4: Services advertised as “free.” Prohibits MLS participants and subscribers from representing that their brokerage services to a buyer client or customer are free or available at no cost to their client, unless the participant or subscriber will receive no financial compensation from any source for those services.  Similar language is being considered for Standard of Practice 12-1 as part of a recommendation from the NAR Professional Standards Committee. A comprehensive summary of board actions will be posted on nar.realtor shortly after the meetings.

6. MLS Policy Statement 8.5: Non-filtering listings based on offers or compensation or name of the brokerage or agent. Prohibits MLS participants and subscribers from filtering out or restricting listings, in listing information that’s searchable and displayed to consumers, based on the level of compensation offered to the cooperating broker or the name of a brokerage or agent; also prohibits MLSs from enabling the ability to filter out listings on the basis of compensation or name of brokerage or agent. Policy Statements 7.58 and 7.91 are amended, too, to bring IDX and VOW policy in line with this rule. The rule doesn’t prohibit participants, on their IDX displays and virtual office websites, from sorting listings to show their own listings first.

These policies take effect Jan. 1, 2022, though MLSs could implement them earlier if they choose.

The NAR Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee also approved a list of voluntary Best Practices for MLSs that did not require approval by the NAR Board of Directors. 
These “MLS Best Practices” and supporting materials will be a resource available at nar.realtor.


Compliance best practice

  • MLSs should issue discipline for violations of local MLS rules consistent with the guidance provided in the NAR Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy.

Data best practices

  • MLSs should post on their website written instructions for requesting MLS data feeds that are available to participants and their vendors, including an explanation of the different feeds and the information provided in each feed. This includes contact information for administrative and technical support. The data transport method should be RESO Web API compliant.
  • By July 1, 2022, MLSs should create with their vendors and leadership a written plan with a timeline and cost estimate to establish a native RESO Data Dictionary–compliant MLS for all listing content available to MLS participants and subscribers.
  • Where available, MLSs should share aggregated data, for statistical purposes, with their state association of REALTORS® and NAR to assist with advocacy efforts and home ownership.

Governance best practices

  • MLSs should provide officers and directors with information about their fiduciary duty to the MLS and have them sign an agreement that confirms their understanding and commitment to those duties. 
  • MLSs should adopt and annually review a strategic plan to address participant and subscriber needs with specific consideration for leadership training, partnerships, technology, participant outreach, financial independence, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Visit the MLS Policy page at nar.realtor.

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