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Laredo Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Services Rules and Regulations

Participation
Participation: Any REALTOR® Member of this or any other Board who is a principal, partner, or corporate officer, or branch manager acting on behalf of the principal, without further qualification, except as otherwise stipulated in these rules and regulations, shall be eligible to participate in the Multiple Listing Service upon agreeing in writing to conform to the rules and regulations thereof and to pay the costs incidental thereto. However, under no circumstances is any individual or firm, regardless of membership status, entitled to Multiple Listing Service “membership” or “participation” unless they hold a current, valid real estate broker’s license and are capable of offering and accepting compensation to and from other Participants or are licensed or certified by an appropriate state regulatory agency to engage in the appraisal of real property. Use of information developed by or published by a Board Multiple Listing Service is strictly limited to the activities authorized under a Participant’s licensure(s) or certification and unauthorized use are prohibited. Further, none of the foregoing is intended to convey “participation” or “membership” or any right of access to information developed by or published by a Board Multiple Listing Service where access to such information is prohibited by law.
An applicant’s Principal Broker or Designated REALTOR® (Broker of Record) must be a participating member of LAR Multiple Listing Service in order for applicant to receive or subscribe to the Multiple Listing Service. (Adopted 7/28/2010)
Definition of MLS Only Participants and Subscribers: Individuals who are only participants and/or subscribers of the Multiple Listing Service and do not hold primary or secondary REALTOR® membership with the local Board.
Benefits: MLS Only Participants/subscribers are only entitled to the special benefits associated with the Multiple Listing Service. Current MLS benefits include the following:
1. Access to the Paragon MLS System.
2. Access to the Paragon Support Hotline.
3. Eligibility to participate in the Supra Lockbox System.
Note: The Designated Realtor (Broker of Record) must be a Participant in the Multiple Listing Service in order for licensees to subscribe to the Multiple Listing Service. (Adopted 7/28/2010)

Listing Procedures
Section 1 – Listing Procedures: Listings of real or personal property of the following types, which are listed subject to a real estate broker’s license, and are located within the territorial jurisdiction of the Multiple Listing Service, and are taken by Participants on (indicate form(s) of listing(s) accepted by the Service – See Notes 1 and 2) shall be delivered to the Multiple Listing Service within 72 hours after all necessary signatures of seller(s) have been obtained: (Amended 11/01)
(a) single family homes for sale, lease or exchange
(b) two-family, three-family, and four-family residential buildings for sale, lease or exchange
(c) vacant lots and acreage for sale, lease or exchange
(d) multifamily property for sale, lease or exchange
(e) commercial property for sale, lease or exchange
(f) industrial property for sale, lease or exchange
Note 1: The Multiple Listing Service shall not require a Participant to submit listings on a form other than the form the Participant individually chooses to utilize provided the listing is of a type accepted by the Service, although a property data form may be required as approved by the Multiple Listing Service. However, the Multiple Listing Service, through its legal counsel:
1. may reserve the right to refuse to accept a listing form which fails to adequately protect the interests of the public and the Participants
2. assure that no listing form filed with the Multiple Listing Service establishes, directly or indirectly, any contractual relationship between the Multiple Listing Service and the client (buyer or seller)
The Multiple Listing Service shall accept exclusive right to sell listing contracts and exclusive agency listing contracts, and may accept other forms of agreement which make it possible for the listing broker to offer compensation to the other Participants of the Multiple Listing Service acting as subagents, buyer agents, or both. (Amended 11/96)
The listing agreement must include the seller’s written authorization to submit the agreement to the Multiple Listing Service. (Amended 11/96) All Rental/Lease properties shall be bound by the MLS Rules & Regulations.
The different types of listing agreements include:
a. exclusive right to sell
b. exclusive right to lease
c. exclusive agency
d. open
The Service may not accept net listings because they are deemed unethical and, in most states, illegal. Open listings are not accepted except where required by law because the inherent nature of an open listing is such as to usually not include the authority to cooperate and compensate other brokers and inherently provides a disincentive for cooperation. (Amended 4/92)
The exclusive right to sell listing is the conventional form of listing submitted to the Multiple Listing Service in that the seller authorizes the listing broker to cooperate with and to compensate other brokers. (Amended 4/92)
The exclusive agency listing also authorizes the listing broker, as exclusive agent, to offer cooperation and compensation on blanket unilateral bases, but also reserves to the seller the general right to sell the property on an unlimited or restrictive basis. Exclusive agency listings and exclusive right to sell listings with named prospects exempted should be clearly distinguished by a simple designation such as a code or symbol from exclusive right to sell listings with no named prospects exempted, since they can present special risks of procuring cause controversies and administrative problems not posed by exclusive right to sell listings with no named prospects exempted. Care should be exercised to ensure that different codes or symbols are used to denote exclusive agency and exclusive right to sell listings with prospect reservations. (Amended 4/92)
Note 2: A Multiple Listing Service does not regulate the type of listings its Members may take. This does not mean that a Multiple Listing Service must accept every type of listing. The Multiple Listing Service shall decline to accept open listings (except where acceptance is required by law) and net listings, and it may limit its service to listings of certain kinds of property. But, if it chooses to limit the kind of listings it will accept, it shall leave its Members free to accept such listings to be handled outside the Multiple Listing Service.
Note 3: A Multiple Listing Service may, as a matter of local option, accept exclusively listed property that is subject to auction. If such listings do not show a listed price, they may be included in a separate section of the MLS compilation of current listings. (Adopted 11/92)
Section 1.0 – Types of Properties: Following are some of the types of properties that may be published through the Service, including types described in the preceding paragraph that are required to be filed with the Service and other types that may be filed with the Service at the Participant’s option provided, however, that any listing submitted is entered into within the scope of the Participant’s licensure as a real estate broker: (Amended 11/91)
1. residential
2. residential income
3. subdivided vacant lot
4. land and ranch
5. business opportunity
6. motel-hotel
7. mobile homes
8. mobile home parks
9. commercial
10. commercial income
11. industrial
12. Industrial Income
13. Multi family
14. Multi family Income
Section 1.1 – Listings Subject to Rules and Regulations of the Service: Any listing taken on a contract to be filed with the Multiple Listing Service is subject to the rules and regulations of the Service upon signature of the seller(s).
Section 1.2 – Detail on Listings Filed with the Service: A listing agreement or property data form, when filed with the Multiple Listing Service by the listing broker, shall be complete in every detail which is ascertainable as specified on the property data form.
a) When other estimated sq. ft. is used or the term “other” is used in any field an explanation must be given in the Remarks section.
b) No reference to Commissions or bonuses, or agent contact information or other confidential data is allowed in the Remarks.
Section 1.2.1 – Limited Service Listings: Listing agreements under which the listing broker will not provide one, or more, of the following services:
(a) arrange appointments for cooperating brokers to show listed property to potential purchasers but instead gives cooperating brokers authority to make such appointments directly with the seller(s);
(b) accept and present to the seller(s) offers to purchase procured by cooperating brokers but instead gives cooperating brokers authority to present offers to purchase directly to the seller(s);
(c) advise the seller(s) as to the merits of offers to purchase;
(d) assist the seller(s) in developing, communicating, or presenting counter-offers; or
(e) participate on the seller(s) behalf in negotiations leading to the sale of the listed property
will be identified with an appropriate code or symbol (e.g. “LR” or “LS”) in MLS compilations so potential cooperating brokers will be aware of the extent of the services the listing broker will provide to the seller(s), and any potential for cooperating brokers being asked to provide some or all of these services to listing brokers’ clients, prior to initiating efforts to show or sell the property. (Adopted 05/01)
Section 1.2.2 – MLS Entry-only Listings: Listing agreements under which the listing broker will not provide any of the following services:
(a) arrange appointments for cooperating brokers to show listed property to potential purchasers but instead gives cooperating brokers authority to make such appointments directly with the seller(s);
(b) accept and present to the seller(s) offers to purchase procured by cooperating brokers but instead gives cooperating brokers authority to present offers to purchase directly to the seller(s);
(c) advise the seller(s) as to the merits of offers to purchase;
(d) assist the seller(s) in developing, communicating, or presenting counter-offers; or
(e) participate on the seller(s) behalf in negotiations leading to the sale of the listed property
will be identified with an appropriate code or symbol (e.g., “EO”) in MLS compilations so potential cooperating brokers will be aware of the extent of the services the listing broker will provide to the seller(s), and any potential for cooperating brokers being asked to provide some or all of these services to listing brokers’ clients, prior to initiating efforts to show or sell the property. (Adopted 05/01)
Section 1.3 – Exempted Listings: If the seller refuses to permit the listing to be disseminated by the Service, the Participant may then take the listing (“office exclusive”) and such listing shall be filed with the Service but not disseminated to the Participants. Filing of the listing should be accompanied by certification signed by the seller that he does not desire the listing to be disseminated by the Service.
The Listing Agent of a Client who does not want the listing in MLS shall (formerly to) submit an executed copy of page 3, via email or hand delivery, of the listing agreement or other written agreement with signatures to the MLS Administrator within 72 hours of the listing date. Compliance with Rules Section 7(e) applies for failure to submit agreement.
Section 1.4 – Change of Status of Listing: Any change in listed price or other change in the original listing agreement shall be made only when authorized in writing by the seller and shall be filed with the Service within 24 hours (excepting weekends, holidays, and postal holidays) after the authorized change is received by the listing broker.
Section 1.5 – Withdrawal of Listing Prior to Expiration: Listings of property may be withdrawn from the Multiple Listing Service by the listing broker before the expiration date of the listing agreement, provided notice is filed with the Service, including a copy of the agreement between the seller and the listing broker which authorizes the withdrawal.
Sellers do not have the unilateral right to require an MLS to withdraw a listing without the listing broker’s concurrence. However, when a seller(s) can document that his exclusive relationship with the listing broker has been terminated, the Multiple Listing Service may remove the listing at the request of the seller. (Adopted 11/96)
Section 1.6 – Contingencies Applicable to Listings: Any contingency or conditions of any term in a listing shall be specified and noticed to the Participants.
Section 1.7 – Listing Price Specified: The full gross listing price stated in the listing contract will be included in the information published in the MLS compilation of current listings, unless the property is subject to auction. (Amended 11/92)
Section 1.8 – Listing Multiple Unit Properties: All properties which are to be sold or which may be sold separately must be indicated individually in the listing and on the property data form. When part of a listed property has been sold, proper notification should be given to the Multiple Listing Service.
Section 1.9 – No Control of Commission Rates or Fees Charged by Participants: The Multiple Listing Service shall not fix, control, recommend, suggest, or maintain commission rates or fees for services to be rendered by Participants. Further, the Multiple Listing Service shall not fix, control, recommend, suggest, or maintain the division of commissions or fees between cooperating Participants or between Participants and non-participants.
Section 1.10 – Expiration of Listings: Listings filed with the Multiple Listing Service will automatically be removed from the compilation of current listings on the expiration date specified in the agreement, unless prior to that date the MLS receives notice that the listing has been extended or renewed.
If notice of renewal or extension is received after the listing has been removed from the compilation of current listings, the extension or renewal will be published in the same manner as a new listing. Extensions or renewals of listings must be signed by the seller(s) and be filed with the Service. (Amended 11/01)
Section 1.11 – Termination Date on Listings: Listings filed with the Service shall bear a definite and final termination date, as negotiated between the listing broker and the seller.
Section 1.12 – Service Area: Only listings of the designated types of property located within the service area of the MLS are required to be submitted to the Service. Listings of property located outside the MLS’s service area will (or will not) be accepted if submitted voluntarily by a Participant, but cannot be required by the Service. (Amended 11/17)
Section 1.13 – Listings of Suspended Participants: When a Participant of the Service is suspended from the MLS for failing to abide by a membership duty (i.e., violation of the Code of Ethics, Board bylaws, MLS bylaws, MLS rules and regulations, or other membership obligation except failure to pay appropriate dues, fees, or charges), all listings currently filed with the MLS by the suspended Participant shall, at the Participant’s option, be retained in the Service until sold, withdrawn or expired, and shall not be renewed or extended by the MLS beyond the termination date of the listing agreement in effect when the suspension became effective. If a Participant has been suspended from the Board (except where MLS participation without Board membership is permitted by law) or MLS (or both) for failure to pay appropriate dues, fees, or charges, a Board MLS is not obligated to provide MLS services, including continued inclusion of the suspended Participant’s listings in the MLS compilation of current listing information. Prior to any removal of a suspended Participant’s listings from the MLS, the suspended Participant should be advised, in writing, of the intended removal so that the suspended Participant may advise his clients.
Section 1.14 – Listings of Expelled Participants: When a Participant of the Service is expelled from the MLS for failing to abide by a membership duty (i.e., violation of the Code of Ethics, Board bylaws, MLS bylaws, MLS rules and regulations, or other membership obligations except failure to pay appropriate dues, fees, or charges), all listings currently filed with the MLS shall, at the expelled Participant’s option, be retained in the Service until sold, withdrawn, or expired, and shall not be renewed or extended by the MLS beyond the termination date of the listing agreement in effect when the expulsion became effective. If a Participant has been expelled from the Board (except where MLS participation without Board membership is permitted by law) or MLS (or both) for failure to pay appropriate dues, fees, or charges, a Board MLS is not obligated to provide MLS services, including continued inclusion of the expelled Participant’s listings in the MLS compilation of current listing information. Prior to any removal of an expelled Participant’s listings from the MLS, the expelled Participant should be advised, in writing, of the intended removal so that the expelled Participant may advise his clients.
Section 1.15 – Listings of Resigned Participants: When a Participant resigns from the MLS, the MLS is not obligated to provide services, including continued inclusion of the resigned Participant’s listings in the MLS compilation of current listing information. Prior to any removal of a resigned Participant’s listings from the MLS, the resigned Participant should be advised, in writing, of the intended removal so that the resigned Participant may advise his clients.
Section 1.16 – Listings of Transferred Participants: Participants, user, and subscribers, prior to or after their relationship with their current firm is terminated, shall not induce clients of their current firm to cancel exclusive contractual agreements between the client and that firm. This does not preclude participants from establishing agreements with their associated licensees governing assignability of exclusive agreements. (Adopted 1/98, Amended 1/10)
Section 1.16.1 – Standard of Practice: The services of which MLS participants provide to their clients and customers shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.
MLS participants shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth. (Adopted 11/09)
Section 1.17 – Photos
1. The primary photo must be an original clear, daytime photo of the front of the property. (March 28, 2019)
2. Listing Photos must be related to the property. No Agent photos or logos are allowed. Photos must not be copied from other’s listings unless the seller owns and has authorized the use of such photos by another participant. Third-party website photos (e.g. Google Earth, etc.) are allowed as secondary photos. NOTE: It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure authorization to use the photos and that they are an accurate reflection of the current state of the property. (March 28, 2019) 3. Photos of listings where construction is in progress must be updated as the building progresses and should be updated at least every month. (Sept. 13, 2016)
4. Photos must not contain real estate or builder’s signs. (May 12, 2015)
5. Photos must not show people on them and incidental photos of animals, pets, and/or wildlife is allowed. (Oct. 16, 2017)
6. Photos must not have obstructions such as cars or other objects blocking the true view of the front of the property. (May 12, 2015)
7. Photos must show the entire front of the property and must not cut off part of the property. (May 12, 2015)
8. Photo Compression: If a photo is over 125K in file size, the image will be compressed to 125K. Note: this could result in a reduction in quality. For users who upload photos larger than the 125K limit, it is recommended that the images do not exceed 10MB in file size. (May 12, 2015)
9. Recommended Formats: Only .jpg image formats are recommended to be uploaded into Paragon. (May 12, 2015)
10. Photos must fill the space allotted in the MLS system. (May 12, 2015)
11. A minimum of 10 photos on all listings must be entered into the system except listings of unimproved/vacant land. (Oct. 16, 2017)
12. Listings of all unimproved/vacant land (residential, commercial, industrial, and farm/ranch) must have a minimum of 5 photos. (Oct. 16, 2017)
13. All photos entered must be of a different view. No duplicated photos. (September 12, 2017)
Selling Procedures
Section 2 – Showings and Negotiations: Appointments for showings and negotiations with the seller for the purchase of listed property filed with the Multiple Listing Service shall be conducted through the listing broker, except under the following circumstances:
(a.) the listing broker gives the cooperating broker specific authority to show and/or negotiate directly, or
(b.) after reasonable effort, the cooperating broker cannot contact the listing broker or his representative; however, the listing broker, at his option, may preclude such direct negotiations by cooperating brokers. (Amended 4/92)
Section 2.1 – Presentation of Offers: The listing broker must make arrangements to present the offer as soon as possible, or give the cooperating broker a satisfactory reason for not doing so. (Amended 4/92)
Section 2.2 – Submission of Written Offers: The listing broker shall submit to the seller all written offers until closing unless precluded by law, government rule, regulation, or agreed otherwise in writing between the seller and the listing broker. Unless the subsequent offer is contingent upon the termination of an existing contract, the listing broker shall recommend that the seller obtain the advice of legal counsel prior to acceptance of the subsequent offer. (Approved 11/87)

Participants representing buyers or tenants shall submit to the buyer or tenant all offers and counter-offers until acceptance, and shall recommend that buyers and tenants obtain legal advice where there is a question about whether a pre-existing contract has been terminated.
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.(Amended 02/2019)
Section 2.4 – Right of Listing Broker in Presentation of Counter-Offer: The listing broker or his representative has the right to participate in the presentation of any counter-offer made by the seller or lessor. He does not have the right to be present at any discussion or evaluation of a counter-offer by the purchaser or lessee (except when the cooperating broker is a subagent). However, if the purchaser or lessee gives written instructions to the cooperating broker that the listing broker not be present when a counter-offer is presented, the listing broker has the right to a copy of the purchaser’s or lessee’s written instructions. (Adopted 11/93)
Section 2.5 – Reporting Sales to the Service: Status changes, including final closing of sales and sale prices, shall be reported to the multiple listing service by the listing broker within 24 hours after they have occurred. If negotiations were carried on under Section 2(a) or (b) hereof, the cooperating broker shall report accepted offers and prices to the listing broker within 24 hours after occurrence and the listing broker shall report them to the MLS within 24 hours after receiving notice from the cooperating broker. (Amended 11/08)
Note 1: The listing agreement of a property filed with the MLS by the listing broker should include a provision expressly granting the listing broker authority to advertise; to file the listing with the MLS; to provide timely notice of status changes of the listing to the MLS; and to provide sales information including selling price to the MLS upon sale of the property. If deemed desirable by the MLS to publish sales information prior to final closing (settlement) of a sales transaction, the listing agreement should also include a provision expressly granting the listing broker the right to authorize dissemination of this information by the MLS to its participants.
Note 2: In disclosure states, if the sale price of a listed property is recorded, the reporting of the sale price may be required by the MLS. In states where the actual sale prices of completed transactions are not publicly accessible, failure to report sale prices can result in disciplinary action only if the MLS:
1. categorizes sale price information as confidential and
2. limits use of sale price information to participants and subscribers in providing real estate services, including appraisals and other valuations, to customers and clients; and to governmental bodies and third-party entities only as provided below.
The MLS may provide sale price information to governmental bodies only to be used for statistical purposes (including use of aggregated data for purposes of valuing property) and to confirm the accuracy of information submitted by property owners or their representatives in connection with property valuation challenges; and to third-party entities only to be used for academic research, statistical analysis, or for providing services to participants and subscribers. In any instance where a governmental body or third-party entity makes sale price information provided by the MLS available other than as provided for in this provision, a listing participant may request the sale price information for a specific property be withheld from dissemination for these purposes with written authorization from the seller, and withholding of sale price information from those entities shall not be construed as a violation of the requirement to report sale prices.
Note 3: As established in the Virtual Office Website (“VOW”) policy, sale prices can only be categorized as confidential in states where the actual sale prices of completed transactions are not accessible from public records.)
Section 2.6 – Reporting Resolutions of Contingencies: The listing broker shall report to the Multiple Listing Service within twenty-four (24) hours that a contingency on file with the Multiple Listing Service has been fulfilled or renewed, or the agreement cancelled.
Section 2.7 – Advertising of Listing Filed with the Service: A listing shall not be advertised by any Participant other than the listing broker without the prior consent of the listing broker.
Section 2.8 – Reporting Cancellation of Pending Sale: The listing broker shall report immediately to the Multiple Listing Service the cancellation of any pending sale, and the listing shall be reinstated immediately.
Section 2.9 – Disclosing the Existence of Offers: Listing brokers, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the seller’s approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized, the listing broker shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, by another licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker. (Adopted 11/05)
Section 2.10 – Availability of Listed Property: Listing brokers shall not misrepresent the availability of access to show or inspect listed property. (Adopted 11/05)
Section 2.11 – Price Change Information: MLSs are not required to track or report price change information other than the most recent increase or decrease in the price of current listings. If such information (either with respect to a current listing or to prior listings of that property) is tracked by an MLS and made available to participants and subscribers, neither it nor any information from which it may be determined shall be classified as confidential nor may participants be prohibited from making such information available to clients and customers pursuant to the same rules governing dissemination of other non-confidential data fields. Classification as non-confidential permits inclusion of such information in advertisements, including IDX display, of other participants’ listings as a matter of local option.
Section 2.12 – Days/Time on Market Information: MLSs are not required to track or report days/time on market information (i.e., the length of time a property has been listed for sale pursuant to a current listing agreement or prior listing agreements, whether with the same or different listing brokers or firms). If such information is tracked by an MLS and made available to participants and subscribers, neither it nor any information from which it may be determined (such as the current list date, or prior list and expiration dates) shall be classified as confidential, nor may participants be prohibited from making such information available to clients or customers pursuant to the same rules governing dissemination of other non-confidential data fields. Classification as non-confidential permits inclusion of such information in advertisements, including IDX display, of other participants’ listings as a matter of local option.
Section 2.13 – Need to Disclose if Property is a Foreclosure, is Bank-owned, or is Real Estate Owned (“REO”): MLS Participants are required to disclose if a listed property is a foreclosure, bank-owned, or real estate owned (“REO”).
Refusal to Sell
Section 3 – Refusal to Sell: If the seller of any listed property filed with the Multiple Listing Service refuses to accept a written offer satisfying the terms and conditions stated in the listing, such fact shall be transmitted immediately to the Service and to all Participants.
Prohibitions
Section 4 – Information for Participants Only: Any listing filed with the Service shall not be made available to any broker or firm not a Member of the MLS without the prior consent of the listing broker.
Section 4.1 – “For Sale” Signs: Only the “For Sale” sign of the listing broker may be placed on a property. (Amended 11/89)
Section 4.2 – “Sold” Signs: Prior to closing, only the “Sold” sign of the listing broker may be placed on a property, unless the listing broker authorizes the cooperating (selling) broker to post such a sign. (Amended 4/96)
Section 4.3 – Solicitation of Listing Filed with the Service: Participants shall not solicit a listing on property filed with the Service unless such solicitation is consistent with Article 17 of the Realtors’ Code of Ethics, its Standards of Practice, and its Case Interpretations.
Note 1: This Section is to be construed in a manner consistent with Article 17 of the Code of Ethics and particularly Standard of Practice 17-4. This Section is intended to encourage sellers to permit their properties to be filed with the Service by protecting them from being solicited, prior to expiration of the listing, by brokers and salespersons seeking the listing upon its expiration.
Without such protection, a seller could receive hundreds of calls, communications, and visits from brokers and salespersons who have been made aware through MLS filing of the date the listing will expire and desire to substitute themselves for the present broker.
This Section is also intended to encourage brokers to participate in the Service by assuring them that other Participants will not attempt to persuade the seller to breach the listing agreement or to interfere with their attempts to market the property. Absent the protection afforded by this Section, listing brokers would be most reluctant to generally disclose the identity of the seller or the availability of the property to other brokers.
This Section does not preclude solicitation of listings under the circumstances otherwise recognized by the Standards of Practice related to Article 17 of the Code of Ethics.
Division of Commissions
Section 5 – Compensation Specified on Each Listing: The listing broker shall specify, on each listing filed with the Multiple Listing Service, the compensation offered to other Multiple Listing Service Participants for their services in the sale of such listing. Such offers are unconditional except that entitlement to compensation is determined by the cooperating broker’s performance as the procuring cause of the sale (or lease) or as otherwise provided for in this rule. The listing broker’s obligation to compensate any cooperating broker as the procuring cause of the sale (or lease) may be excused if it is determined through arbitration that, through no fault of the listing broker and in the exercise of good faith and reasonable care, it was impossible or financially unfeasible for the listing broker to collect a commission pursuant to the listing agreement. In such instances, entitlement to cooperative compensation offered through MLS would be a question to be determined by an arbitration hearing panel based on all relevant facts and circumstances including, but not limited to, why it was impossible or financially unfeasible for the listing broker to collect some or all of the commission established in the listing agreement; at what point in the transaction did the listing broker know (or should have known) that some or all of the commission established in the listing agreement might not be paid; and how promptly had the listing broker communicated to cooperating brokers that the commission established in the listing agreement might not be paid. (Amended 11/98)
Section 5.0.1 – Disclosing Potential Short Sales: Participants must disclose potential short sales (defined as a transaction where title transfers, where the sale price is insufficient to pay the total of all liens and costs of sale and where the seller does not bring sufficient liquid assets to the closing to cure all deficiencies) when reasonably know to the listing participants. (Amended 5/09)
Note 1: When disclosed, participants may, at their discretion, advise other participants whether and how any reduction in the gross commission established in the listing contract, required by the lender as a condition of approving the sale, will be apportioned between listing and cooperating participants. (Adopted 5/09)
Note 2: In filing a property with the Multiple Listing Service of a Board of Realtors, the Participant of the Service is making blanket unilateral offers of compensation to the other MLS Participants, and shall therefore specify on each listing filed with the Service, the compensation being offered to the other MLS Participants. Specifying the compensation on each listing is necessary, because the cooperating broker has the right to know what his compensation shall be prior to his endeavor to sell.* (Amended 11/96)
The listing broker retains the right to determine the amount of compensation offered to other Participants (acting as subagents, buyer agents, or in other agency or nonagency capacities defined by law) which may be the same or different. (Amended 11/96))
This shall not preclude the listing broker from offering any MLS Participant compensation other than the compensation indicated on any listing published by the MLS, provided the listing broker informs the other broker, in writing, in advance of his producing an offer to purchase, and provided that the modification in the specified compensation is not the result of any agreement among all or any other Participants in the Service. Any superseding offer of compensation must be expressed as either a percentage of the gross sales price or as a flat dollar amount. (Amended 11/95)
The Board Multiple Listing Service shall not have a rule requiring the listing broker to disclose the amount of total negotiated commission in his listing contract, and the Board Multiple Listing Service shall not publish the total negotiated commission on a listing which has been submitted to the MLS by a Participant. The Board Multiple Listing Service shall not disclose in any way the total commission negotiated between the seller and the listing broker.
*The compensation specified on listings filed with the Multiple Listing Service shall appear in one of two forms. The essential and appropriate requirement by a Board Multiple Listing Service is that the information to be published shall clearly inform the Participants as to the compensation they will receive in cooperative transactions, unless advised otherwise by the listing broker, in writing, in advance of his producing an offer to purchase. The compensation specified on listings published by the MLS shall be shown in one of the following forms:
1. by showing a percentage of the gross selling price
2. by showing a definite dollar amount (Amended 11/95)
Note 3: The listing broker may, from time to time, adjust the compensation offered to other Multiple Listing Service Participants for their services with respect to any listing by advance published notice to the Service so that all Participants will be advised. (Amended 4/92)
Note 4: The Multiple Listing Service shall make no rule on the division of commissions between Participants and non-participants. This should remain solely the responsibility of the listing broker.
Note 5: Multiple Listing Services, at their discretion, may adopt rules and procedures enabling listing brokers to communicate to potential cooperating brokers that gross commissions established in listing contracts are subject to court approval or to lender approval; and that compensation payable to cooperating brokers may be reduced if the gross commission established in the listing contract is reduced by a court or by a lender. In such instances, the fact that the gross commission is subject to court or to lender approval and either the potential reduction in compensation payable to cooperating brokers or the method by which the potential reduction in compensation will be calculated must be clearly communicated to potential cooperating brokers prior to the time they produce an offer that ultimately results in a successful transaction.
Note 6: Nothing in these MLS rules precludes a listing participant and a cooperating participant, as a matter of mutual agreement, from modifying the cooperative compensation to be paid in the event of a successful transaction. (Adopted 11/05)
Section 5.1 – Participant as Principal: If a Participant or any licensee (or licensed or certified appraiser) affiliated with a Participant has any ownership interest in a property, the listing of which is to be disseminated through the Multiple Listing Service, that person shall disclose that interest when the listing is filed with the Multiple Listing Service and such information shall be disseminated to all Multiple Listing Service Participants.
Section 5.2 – Participant as Purchaser: If a Participant or any licensee (including licensed and certified appraisers) affiliated with a Participant wishes to acquire an interest in property listed with another Participant, such contemplated interest shall be disclosed in writing, to the listing broker not later than the time an offer to purchase is submitted to the listing broker. (Adopted 2/92)
Section 5.3 – Dual or Variable Rate Commission Arrangements: The existence of a dual or variable rate commission arrangement (i.e., one in which the seller/landlord agrees to pay a specified commission if the property is sold/ leased by the listing broker without assistance and a different commission if the sale/lease results through the efforts of a cooperating broker; or one in which the seller/landlord agrees to pay a specified commission if the property is sold/leased by the listing broker either with or without the assistance of a cooperating broker and a different commission if the sale/lease results through the efforts of a seller/landlord) shall be disclosed by the listing broker by a key, code, or symbol as required by the MLS. The listing broker shall, in response to inquiries from potential cooperating brokers, disclose the differential that would result in either a cooperative transaction or, alternatively, in a sale/lease that results through the efforts of the seller/landlord. If the cooperating broker is a buyer/tenant representative, the buyer/tenant representative must disclose such information to their client before the client makes an offer to purchase or lease. (Amended 05/01)
Note 7: Multiple listing services must give participants the ability to disclose to other participants any potential for a short sale. As used in these rules, short sales are defined as a transaction where title transfers, where the sale price is insufficient to pay the total of all liens and costs of sale, and where the seller does not bring sufficient liquid assets to the closing to cure all deficiencies. Multiple listing services may, as a matter of local discretion, require participants to disclose potential shorts sales when participants know a transaction is a potential short sale. In any instance where a participant discloses a potential short sale, they may, as a matter of local discretion, also be permitted to communicate to other participants how any reduction in the gross commission established in the listing contract required by the lender as a condition of approving the sale will be apportioned between listing and cooperating participants. All confidential disclosures and confidential information related to short sales, if allowed by local rules, must be communicated through dedicated fields or confidential “remarks” available only to participants and subscribers. (Amended 5/09)
Note 8: MLS Participants can offer cooperative compensation based on net sale prices, and the MLS define “seller concessions” as points paid by seller on behalf of buyer, seller-paid buyer closing costs, cash or cash allowances not escrowed, down payment assistance, additions or alterations not considered deferred maintenance, and personal property not usual and customary to such transactions conveyed from seller to buyer having an agreed upon monetary value. (Adopted 5/12)
Service Charges
Section 6 – Service Fees and Charges: The following service charges for operation of the Multiple Listing Service are in effect to defray the costs of the Service and are subject to change from time to time in the manner prescribed.
a. Initial Participation Fee: A member (primary or secondary) applicant for participation in the Service will pay an application fee of $50.00 with such fee to accompany the application. An applicant who is a participant and/or subscriber (MLS Only) will pay an application fee of $400.00. An applicant’s Principal Broker must be a participating member of LAR Multiple Listing Service in order for applicant to receive Multiple Listing Service. (Adopted 07/28/2010)
b. Recurring Participation Fee: The quarterly participation fee of each participant shall be an amount equal to $120.00 times each salesperson and each 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 quarter of the multiple listing service. If payment is not received within ten (10) days of due date, services will be terminated and a $25.00 fee will be assessed to reconnect.
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 where the principal broker participates. MLSs may, at their discretion, require that broker participants sign a certification for nonuse of its MLS services by their licensees, which can include penalties and termination of the waiver if violated. (Adopted 03/19)
c. Personal Assistant(s) Participation Fee: Each designated Broker or principal appraiser that is registered with an office will be allowed only one personal assistant with access to the MLS on a free basis. Additional personal assistants will be granted access to the MLS, provided they pay a fee equivalent to one half that of a realtor member. (Adopted 5/20/2011)
Note 1: Any combination of charges may be used if they are in accordance with the National Association’s Multiple Listing Policy Point No. 3. Multiple Listing Policy Point No. 3 prohibits a fee that is contingent on the sale of a listed property.
Note 2: Financing from the Multiple Listing Service should be adequate but not in such amounts as to be the source of financing the Board’s operation. The Multiple Listing Service should pay its own way and allow for a reasonable operating reserve, but it is merely another service of the Board and not the principal activity or reason for the Board’s existence. As long as it is able to restrict its services exclusively or primarily to Board members, the Service is not properly a Board profit center.
Note 3: Multiple Listing Services that choose to include affiliated unlicensed administrative and clerical staff, personal assistants, and/or individuals seeking licensure or certification as real estate appraisers among those eligible for access to and use of MLS information as “subscribers” may, at their discretion, amend Section 6(b) as necessary to include such individuals in the computation of MLS fees and charges. (Adopted 4/92)
Compliance with Rules
Section 7 – Compliance with Rules: The following action may be taken for non compliance with the rules:
(a) Failure to pay any service charge or fee within ten (10) days of the date due will result in suspension of the Service for 30 days. Administrative fee of $25.00 will be assessed and payable prior to service activation.
(b) If an Office is suspended from MLS for MLS violations it will remain suspended for a minimum 30 days. Offices will be disconnected at the end of day at 5:00 pm.
(c) All correspondence about MLS errors must be in writing. No phone calls to Listing Agents/Brokers are permitted. Email is the preferred method to contact Listing Agents/Brokers.
(d) The penalty for violation of Section 1 Listing Procedures of the MLS Rules and Regulations requiring listings to be delivered to the MLS within 72 hours after all signatures are obtained shall be a fine of $500.00.
(e) For failure to comply with any other rule, the provisions of Sections 9 and 9.1 shall apply. Penalty for violation of these rules, the provisions of Section 7.1 shall apply.
(f) If one REALTORS® office is suspended, all offices under the sponsoring Broker will be suspended.
(g) Entering a listed property without permission of the listing Broker will result in a $50.00 fine to the offending Agent. Listing Broker must sign a written letter of complaint and submit it to the AE. (Nov. 11, 2008)
(h) The MLS Administrator is authorized to look at all advertising including signs of REALTORS® for properties that are not in the MLS database and requiring written proof of the listing agreement or written permission to advertise in lieu of a listing agreement. REALTORS® is to provide proof of an active listings agreement with proper dates and signatures within 24 hours or pay a $500 fine. (rev. July 11, 2017)
(i) In lieu of monetary penalty, offending broker and agent(s) will be given the option to attend an MLS Rules & Regulations class which may be redeemed only once a year, applicable to one notice per office. This class must be taken during the quarter in which the offense was committed or when the next class becomes available, whichever one is sooner. Failure to exercise this option will result in original penalty to apply. (Jan. 14, 2009)
(j) MLS Tour Rule: Listing agent or designated office representative must be present to show home listed on the MLS Tour. If home is not available for show during the tour, the offending listing agent shall be fined $100.00. Listing agent or designated office representative must advise the touring agents during breakfast that home is not available for show in order to avoid fine. Agents in violation shall pay fine within 7 days or the violating agent’s office will be suspended from the MLS system. (Sept. 8, 2009)
(k) Zero Tolerance Rule: All incorrect data inputted into the MLS required fields will receive an automatic fine of $10.00. Designated Broker will be sent written notification of the incorrect data and the rule being violated. (rev. Mar. 22, 2017)
(l) Failure to correct any field within the initial 72 hours (three (3) days) of notification will result in a fine of $150 per item. It will be the Broker’s responsibility to submit proof of the correction to the MLS Administrator in order to avoid being fined any additional fees. Designated Broker may submit a written appeal contesting the fine. (Mar. 22, 2017)
(m) All fines may be appealed. All appeals must be submitted in writing to the MLS administrator within 72 hours (3 days) of receiving violation notification. (May 12, 2015)
(n) The MLS committee will review each error that is accompanied with a written appeal at their monthly MLS committee meeting and decide if the appeal has merit or if the fine should stand. Only errors that are accompanied with written appeals will be reviewed. Fines will automatically be incurred. Fine will be credited if Appeal is granted. Affected members can request to be present when the committee reviews their appeal. (Sept. 1, 2012)
(o) It is mandatory for every new member to take the Paragon MLS Certification course online. Certification certificate should be submitted to the AE/MLS Administrator within 30 days. (May 12, 2015)
(p) Virtual Tour Rule: Virtual tours entered on the MLS must not contain any contact information such as listing agent, listing office or office logos. (April 11, 2017)
(q) When there is a second listing or a double listing, office staff is to contact brokers to remove listing within 24 hours to determine who it belongs to. If not removed within 24 hours, office staff will automatically remove both listings. Brokers will have 48 hours to determine who the listing belongs to and will provide proof of active listing agreement to staff prior to reinputting the listing on the MLS system. The Broker that cannot provide proof of an active listing agreement will be fined $500.00. (July 12, 2017)
(r) On the Zero Tolerance Rule: Fines will be increase per office who receive over 3 correction notifications per calendar month from $10.00 to $50.00. If over 4 corrections sent, fine will be increase to $200.00 and it will be mandatory for Broker to take an MLS class within 30 days after fine is assessed. (May 8, 2018)
(s) All listing Agents/Offices must obtain a Certificate of Compliance with plat requirements or Certificate of non-compliance plat requirements issue by the governing county planning department. (NOTE: Chapter 232 of the Texas Local Government Code prohibits advertising and selling rural residential lots that lack water and sewer or that are not platted. Section 232.033(a) states that every advertisement other than a small “for sale” sign on the lot must accurately describe the availability of water, sewer, gas and electric utilities.) (August 14, 2018)
(t) When a Broker inputs a Coming Soon-No Show Status Listing, Broker is required to send within 72 hours to MLS Administration the following written authorization from seller: Coming Soon-No Show Status Seller Authorization form. (Adopted 11/2018)
(u) Violations on SOLD listings effective March 1, 2019. Rules will apply only to listings that MLS Administrator receives a correction notification. Note: Currently these rules only apply to all other status listings, except for SOLD. (Adopted 11/2018)
NOTE: Generally, warning, censure, and the imposition of a moderate fine are sufficient to constitute a deterrent to violation of the rules and regulations of the Multiple Listing Service. Suspension or termination is an extreme sanction to be used in cases of extreme or repeated violation of the rules and regulations of the Service. If the MLS desires to establish a series of moderate fines, they should be clearly specified in the rules and regulations. (Amended 11/88)
Section 7.1 – Applicability of Rules to Users and/or Subscribers: Non-principal brokers, sales licensees, appraisers, and others authorized to have access to information published by the MLS are subject to these rules and regulations and may be disciplined for violations thereof provided that the user or subscriber has signed an agreement acknowledging that access to and use of MLS information is contingent on compliance with the rules and regulations. Further, failure of any user or subscriber to abide by the rules and/or any sanction imposed for violations thereof can subject the Participant to the same or other discipline plus a sanction of $100.00 per violation of the MLS Rules and Regulations. This provision does not eliminate the Participant’s ultimate responsibility and accountability for all users or subscribers affiliated with the Participant. (Adopted 4/92)
Members have a right to appeal any fine, service charge or administrative fee to the Board of Directors.
• 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.
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 that broker participants sign a certificate of nonuse of its MLS services by their licensees, which can include penalties and termination of the waiver if violated.
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.
Meetings
Section 8 – Meetings:
Section 8.1 – Meetings of MLS Committee: The Multiple Listing Service Committee shall meet for the transaction of its business at a time and place to be determined by the Committee or at the call of the Chairperson.
Section 8.2 – Meetings of MLS Participants: The Committee may call meetings of the Participants in the Service to be known as meetings of the Multiple Listing Service.
Section 8.3 – Conduct of the Meetings: The Chairperson or Vice Chairperson shall preside at all meetings or, in their absence; a temporary Chairperson from the membership of the Committee shall be named by the Chairperson or, upon his failure to do so, by the Committee.
Enforcement of Rules or Disputes
Section 9 – Enforcement of Rules or Disputes:
Section 9.1 – Consideration of Alleged Violations: The Committee 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. (Amended 2/98)
Section 9.2 – 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 Multiple Listing Service Committee, and if a violation is determined, the Committee may direct the imposition of sanction, provided the recipient of such sanction may request a hearing before the Professional Standards Committee of the Board in accordance with the bylaws and rules and regulations of the Laredo Association of REALTORS within twenty (20) days following receipt of the Committee’s decision. (Amended 11/96)
If, rather than conducting an administrative review, the Multiple Listing Committee has a procedure established to conduct hearings, the decision of the Multiple Listing Committee may be appealed to the Board of Directors of the Laredo Association of REALTORS within twenty (20) days of the tribunal’s decision being rendered. Alleged violations involving unethical conduct shall be referred to the Board’s Grievance Committee for processing in accordance with the professional standards procedures of the Board. If the charge alleges a refusal to arbitrate, such charge shall be referred directly to the Board of Directors of the Laredo Association of REALTORS. (Amended 2/98)
Section 9.3 – Complaints of Unethical Conduct: All other complaints of unethical conduct shall be referred by the MLS Committee to the Secretary of the Board of Realtors for appropriate action in accordance with the professional standards procedures established in the Board’s bylaws. (Amended 11/88)
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 MLS Committee 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 MLS committee that the use is authorized. Any proof submitted will be considered by the MLS Committee, and a decision of whether it establishes authority to use the listing content will be made within thirty (30) days.
If the MLS Committee determines that the use of the content was unauthorized, the MLS Committee 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 MLS Committee’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.
• 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.
Confidentiality of MLS Information
Section 10 – Confidentiality of MLS Information: Any information provided by the Multiple Listing Service to the Participants shall be considered official information of the Service. Such information shall be considered confidential and exclusively for the use of Participants and real estate licensees affiliated with such Participants and those Participants who are licensed or certified by an appropriate state regulatory agency to engage in the appraisal of real property and licensed or certified appraisers affiliated with such Participants. (Amended 4/92)
Section 10.1 – MLS Not Responsible for Accuracy of Information: The information published and disseminated by the Service is communicated verbatim, without change by the Service, as filed with the Service by the Participant. The Service does not verify such information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. Each Participant agrees to hold the Service harmless against any liability arising from any inaccuracy or inadequacy of the information such Participant provides.
Section 10.2 – Access to Comparable and Statistical Information: Board members who are actively engaged in real estate brokerage, management, appraising, land development, or building, but who do not participate in the MLS, are nonetheless entitled to receive by purchase or lease all information other than current listing information that is generated wholly or in part by the MLS, including “comparable” information, “sold” information, and statistical reports. This information is provided for the exclusive use of Board members and individuals affiliated with Board members who are also engaged in the real estate business and may not be transmitted, retransmitted, or provided in any manner to any unauthorized individual, office, or firm, except as otherwise provided in these rules and regulations.
Ownership of MLS Compilation* and Copyright
Section 11 – By the act of submitting any property listing content to the MLS, the participant represents and warrants that he or she is fully 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 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 listed property. (Amended 5/06)
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
Note: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a federal copyright law that enhances the penalties for copyright infringement occurring on the Internet. The law provides exemptions or “safe harbors” from copyright infringement liability for online service providers (OSP) that satisfy certain criteria. Courts construe the definition of “online service provider” broadly, which would likely include MLSs as well as participants and subscribers hosting an IDX display.
One safe harbor limits the liability of an OSP that hosts a system, network or website on which Internet users may post user-generated content. If an OSP complies with the provisions of this DMCA safe harbor, it cannot be liable for copyright infringement if a user posts infringing material on its website. This protects an OSP from incurring significant sums in copyright infringement damages, as statutory damages are as high as $150,000 per work. For this reason, it is highly recommended that MLSs, participants and subscribers comply with the DMCA safe harbor provisions discussed herein.
To qualify for this safe harbor, the OSP must:
1. Designate on its website and register with the Copyright Office an agent to receive takedown requests. The agent could be the MLS, participant, subscriber, or other individual or entity.
2. Develop and post a DMCA-compliant website policy that addresses repeat offenders.
3. Comply with the DMCA takedown procedure. If a copyright owner submits a takedown notice to the OSP, which alleges infringement of its copyright at a certain location, then the OSP must promptly remove allegedly infringing material. The alleged infringer may submit a counter-notice that the OSP must share with the copyright owner. If the copyright owner fails to initiate a copyright lawsuit within ten (10) days, then the OSP may restore the removed material.
4. Have no actual knowledge of any complained-of infringing activity.
5. Not be aware of facts or circumstances from which complained-of infringing activity is apparent.
6. Not receive a financial benefit attributable to complained-of infringing activity when the OSP is capable of controlling such activity.
Full compliance with these DMCA safe harbor criteria will mitigate an OSP’s copyright infringement liability. For more information see 17 U.S.C. §512.
*The term MLS compilation, as used in Sections 11 and 12 herein, shall be construed to include any format in which property listing data is collected and disseminated to the participants, including but not limited to bound book, loose-leaf binder, computer database, card file, or any other format whatsoever.
Section 11.1 – All right, title, and interest in each copy of every Multiple Listing compilation created and copyrighted by the Laredo Association of REALTORS® and in the copyrights therein, shall at all times remain vested in the Laredo Association of REALTORS®.
Section 11.2 – Each Participant shall be entitled to lease from the Laredo Association of REALTORS a number of copies of each MLS compilation sufficient to provide the Participant and each person affiliated as a licensee (including licensed or certified appraisers) with such Participant with one copy of such compilation. The Participant shall pay for each such copy the rental fee set by the Board.
Participants shall acquire by such lease only the right to use the MLS compilation in accordance with these rules.
This section should not be construed to require the Participant to lease a copy of the MLS compilation for any licensee (or licensed or certified appraiser) affiliated with the Participant who is engaged exclusively in a specialty of the real estate business other than listing, selling, or appraising the types of properties which are required to be filed with the MLS and who
does not, at any time, have access to or use of the MLS information or MLS facility of the Board.
The term “MLS compilation” as used in Section 11 and 12 herein, shall be construed to include any format in which property listing data is collected and disseminated to the Participants, including but not limited to bound book, loose-leaf binder, computer database, card file, or any other format whatever.
Use of Copyrighted MLS Compilation
Section 12 – Distribution: Participants shall, at all times, maintain control over and responsibility for each copy of any MLS compilation leased to them by the Board of Realtors, and shall not distribute any such copies to persons other than subscribers who are affiliated with such Participant as licensees, those individuals who are licensed or certified by an appropriate state regulatory agency to engage in the appraisal of real property, and any other subscribers as authorized pursuant to the governing documents of the MLS. Use of information developed by or published by a Board Multiple Listing Service is strictly limited to the activities authorized under a Participant’s licensure(s) or certification, and unauthorized uses are prohibited. Further, none of the foregoing is intended to convey “Participation” or “Membership” or any right of access to information developed or published by a Board Multiple Listing Service where access to such information is prohibited by law.
Section 12.1 – Display: Participants and those persons affiliated as licensees with such Participants shall be permitted to display the MLS compilation to prospective purchasers only in conjunction with their ordinary business activities of attempting to locate ready, willing, and able buyers for the properties described in said MLS compilation.
Section 12.2 – Reproduction: Participants or their affiliated licensees shall not reproduce any MLS compilation or any portion thereof, except in the following limited circumstances:
Participants or their affiliated licensees may reproduce from the MLS compilation and distribute to prospective purchasers a reasonable number of single copies of property listing data contained in the MLS compilation which relate to any properties in which the prospective purchasers are or may, in the judgment of the Participants or their affiliated licensees, be interested.
Nothing contained herein shall be construed to preclude any Participant from utilizing, displaying, distributing, or reproducing property listing sheets or other compilations of data pertaining exclusively to properties currently listed for sale with the Participant.
Any MLS information, whether provided in written or printed form, provided electronically, or provided in any other form or format, is provided for the exclusive use of the Participant and those licensees affiliated with the Participant who are authorized to have access to such information. Such information may not be transmitted, retransmitted, or provided in any manner to any unauthorized individual, office, or firm.
None of the foregoing shall be construed to prevent any individual legitimately in possession of current listing information, sold information, comparables, or statistical information from utilizing such information to support valuations on particular properties for clients and customers. Any MLS content in data feeds available to participants for real estate brokerage purposes must also be available to participants for valuation purposes, including automated valuations. MLSs must either permit use of existing data feeds, or create a separate data feed, to satisfy this requirement. MLSs may require execution of a third-party license agreement where deemed appropriate by the MLS. MLSs may require participants who will use such data feeds to pay the reasonably estimated costs incurred by the MLS in adding or enhancing its downloading capacity for this purpose. Information deemed confidential may not be used as supporting documentation. Any other use of such information is unauthorized and prohibited by these rules and regulations. (Amended 05/14)
Use of MLS Information
Section 13 – Limitations on Use of MLS Information: Use of information from MLS compilation of current listing information, from the Board’s statistical report, or from any sold or comparable report of the Board or MLS for public mass-media advertising by an MLS Participant or in other public representations, may not be prohibited.
However, any print or non-print forms of advertising or other forms of public representations based in whole or in part on information supplied by the Board or its MLS must clearly demonstrate the period of time over which such claims are based and must include the following, or substantially similar, notice:
Based on information from the Laredo Association of REALTORS® (alternatively, from the Laredo MLS) for the period __(date)_____ through ____(date)_______.
Changes in Rules and Regulations
Section 14 – Changes in Rules and Regulations: Amendments to the rules and regulations of the Service shall be by a majority vote of the Members of the Multiple Listing Service Committee, subject to approval by the Board of Directors of the Laredo Association of REALTORS®.
Lock Box Requirements
Section 15 – Lockbox Requirements:
Section 15.1 – Types of Keys – Any physical or electronic key, programmer, or other device (hereinafter referred to as “Key”) by which a lock box can be opened must be non-duplicative. Being “non-duplicative” means that is cannot be readily copied in the manner that other types of keys ordinarily are.
A mobile device (such as, a smart phone, tablet, fob, etc.) can transmit a key to access a lockbox using standard protocols, including, Bluetooth, ZigBee, infrared technology, and others. The applications and software used by mobile devices must contain security controls to allow only authorized users access to the lockbox.
As a matter of local discretion, the listing broker or agent can issue temporary codes/access to the lockbox and property on terms and conditions agreed to in advance by the seller. Temporary codes/access must expire within seventy-two (72) hours after being issued or must be under the control of the listing broker or agent. Temporary codes must be a minimum field size of five (5) characters. (XX,XXX)
Section 15.2 – Security protocols – Keys must be obtained from the original manufacturer, from a recognized vendor of lock box systems or from any other legitimate source. Prior to utilizing previously used keys, lids or boxes, associations and MLSs must obtain sufficient information from the original manufacturer and surrounding associations and MLSs in order to determine whether the key’s pattern, code, or configuration is already in use.
Electronic lockboxes and electronic keys running on mobile devices must incorporate security protocols to prevent the following types of cyber-attacks:
• Where an unauthorized user can override or escalate their security credentials.
• Where the communication session between the electronic lockbox and key are recorded and played back later to gain unauthorized access.
• Forging of electronic credentials that could allow an unauthorized user the ability to masquerade as an authorized user.
• Digitally signed updates to electronic keys running on mobile devices or electronic lockbox firmware plus a secured update process to prevent unauthorized software from being introduced into the lockbox system.
• Transmission(s) of frequencies to deceive the lockbox electronics into opening.
Section 15.3 – Availability of lockbox system and keys – Any lock box system must be designated as either an activity of an association of REALTORS® or an association-owned and operated Multiple Listing Service.
If the lock box system is an activity of an association-owned and operated MLS, then every MLS Participant and every non-principal broker, sales licensee and licensed or certified appraiser who is affiliated with an MLS Participant and who is legally eligible for MLS access shall be eligible to hold a key subject to their execution of a lease agreement with the MLS.
As a matter of local discretion, associations and MLSs can determine that key lease agreements executed by non-principal brokers, sales licensees, unlicensed personal assistants, administrative and clerical staff, and licensed, certified, or those seeking to be licensed or certified as appraisers, must also be cosigned by the designated REALTOR or the office’s broker of record. Lease agreements shall spell out the responsibilities of the parties and shall incorporate by reference any applicable rules or regulations or other governing provisions of the association or MLS that relate to the operation of the lockbox system. The lease agreement shall also provide that keys may not be used under any circumstances by anyone other than the keyholder except as provided elsewhere in this statement of policy.
Allowing others the use of the issued key will result in a $500 fine and a 90 day suspension of the use of the key. (Sept. 8, 2011)
Associations and MLSs may, at their discretion, lease keys to affiliate members of associations who are actively engaged in a recognized field of real estate practice or in related fields. In such instances, the lease agreement shall be signed by the keyholder and by a principal, partner or corporate officer of the keyholder’s firm.
Individuals may be required to pay lockbox costs as part of association dues or as part of MLS participation fees. No one shall be required to lease a key from the Board except on a voluntary basis.
Associations and MLSs may refuse to sell or lease lockbox keys, may terminate existing key lease agreements, and may refuse to activate or reactivate any key held by an individual who has been convicted of a crime within the past seven (7) years under the following circumstances:
A. The association or MLS determines that the conviction(s) relates to the real estate business or puts clients, customers, other real estate professionals, or property at risk, for example through dishonest, deceptive, or violent acts; and
B. The association or MLS gives the individual an opportunity to provide and the association or MLS must consider mitigating factors related to the individual’s criminal history, including but not limited to factors such as:
i) the individual’s age at the time of the conviction(s);
ii) nature and seriousness of the crime;
iii) extent and nature of past criminal activity;
iv) time elapsed since criminal activity was engaged in;
v) rehabilitative efforts undertaken by the applicant since the conviction(s);
vi) facts and circumstances surrounding the conviction(s); and
vii) evidence of current fitness to practice real estate.
Associations and MLSs should be sure to evaluate individuals uniformly, and avoid making exceptions for one individual while denying an exception to another individual with a similar criminal history.
Associations or MLSs may suspend the right of lockbox keyholders to use lockbox keys following their arrest and prior to a final determination on any such charge if, in the determination of the association or MLS, the charge relates to a crime that relates to the real estate business or puts clients, customers, other real estate professionals, or property at risk.
Section 15.4 – Audit requirements – Associations or MLSs shall maintain current records as to all keys issued and in inventory, including registered users accessing lockboxes through applications and software used by mobile devices. There shall be an audit, at least annually, of all keys, whether issued or in inventory. This requirement may be satisfied by a physical inventory or by receipt of a statement signed by the key holder and the designated REALTOR, broker of record, or in the case of an Affiliate Member, by a principal, partner,
or corporate officer of the key holder’s firm, attesting that the key is currently in possession of the key holder.
Section 15.5 – Seller authority required – Lock boxes may not be placed on a property without written authority from the seller. This authority may be established in the listing contract or any other written document.
Section 15.6 – Reporting missing keys – Associations or MLSs must charge keyholders and their co-signatories with the joint obligation of immediately reporting lost, stolen or otherwise unaccountable for keys to the association or MLS. Upon receipt of notice, the association or MLS must take any steps deem necessary to resecure the system.
Section 15.7 – Rules and procedures governing lockbox systems – Associations or MLSs must adopt written, reasonable and appropriate rules and procedures for administration of lock box systems which may include appropriate fines, not to exceed $1,000. Any issuing fees, recurring fees, or other administrative costs shall be established at the discretion of the association or MLS and set forth in the rules and procedures. All keyholders, whether or not they are association members or MLS participants, shall agree, as a condition of the key lease agreement, to be bound by the rules and procedures governing the operation of the lock box system.
Key lease agreements may contain a liquidated damages provision to offset some or all of the costs in reestablishing the security of the system if it is determined that the security has been compromised through the negligence or fault of the keyholder.
Section 15.8 – Issuing electronic programmers or keypads on temporary basis – In the event electronic lock box programmers or keypads are sold or leased, a designated REALTOR principal or an office’s broker of record may purchase or lease additional programmers or keypads to be issued on a temporary basis to other key holders in the same office in the event their programmer or keypad becomes non-functional outside normal business hours or under circumstances where a replacement programmer or keypad is not reasonably available from the issuing association or MLS. When a programmer or keypad is issued on a temporary basis, it shall be the responsibility of the REALTOR principal or the broker of record to advise the association or MLS in writing that the programmer or keypad has been issued, to whom, and the date and time of issuance within (48) forty-eight hours. It shall also be the responsibility of the REALTOR principal or the broker of record to advise the association or MLS in writing within two (2) business days after possession of the previously issued programmer or keypad has been reassumed.
Section 15.9 – Requiring “approved” lockbox systems – As a matter of local discretion, associations and MLSs may require placement of an “approved” lock box on listed properties if any device giving access to real estate professionals and/or service providers is authorized by the seller and occupant and is placed on the property. The purpose of this requirement, if adopted by an association or MLS, is to ensure cooperating participants and subscribers have timely access to listed properties. Requiring that a lock box or other access device be “approved” does not limit the devices that satisfy the requirement to lock boxes leased or sold by an association or MLS. The association or MLS may require that the devices be submitted in advance for approval, and the access device may be any lock box or other access device that provides reasonable, timely access to listed property. The association or MLS also may revoke the approval or subject the participant to discipline if the device is used in a manner that fails to continue to satisfy this requirement.
Standards of Conduct for MLS Participants
Section 16 – Our MLS is not open to nonmembers, so this section does not apply.
Orientation
Section 17 – Orientation – Any applicant for MLS participation and any licensee (including licensed or certified appraisers) affiliated with an MLS participant who has access to and use of MLS-generated information shall complete an orientation program of no more than eight (8) classroom hours devoted to the MLS rules and regulations and computer training related to MLS information entry and retrieval and the operation of the MLS within thirty (30) days after access has been provided. (Amended 11/04)
Participants and subscribers may be required, at the discretion of the MLS, to complete additional training of not more than four (4) classroom hours in any twelve (12) month period when deemed necessary by the MLS to familiarize participants and subscribers with system changes or enhancement and or changes to MLS rules or policies. Participants and subscribers must be given the opportunity to complete any mandated orientation and additional training remotely (Adopted 04/19).
Internet Data Exchange (IDX)
Section 18 – IDX Defined: IDX affords MLS participants the ability to authorize limited electronic display and delivery of their listings by other participants via the following authorized mediums under the participant’s control: websites, mobile apps, and audio devices. As used throughout these rules, “display” includes “delivery” of such listings. Associations of Realtors® and their multiple listing services must enable MLS participants to display aggregated MLS listing information by specified electronic means in accordance with this policy. Requests for IDX feeds/downloads must be acted on by the MLS within five (5) business days from receipt, barring extenuating circumstances related to an individual’s qualification for MLS Participation, and review of the participant’s and vendor’s use of the IDX information consistent with the MLS rules, in which case an estimated time of approval or denial must be issued.
For purposes of this policy “control” means participants must have the ability to add, delete, modify and update information as required by this policy. All displays of IDX listings must also be under the actual and apparent control of the participant, and must be presented to the public as being the participant’s display. Actual control requires that the participant has developed the display, or caused the display to be developed for the participant pursuant to an agreement giving the participant authority to determine what listings will be displayed, and how those listings will be displayed. Apparent control requires that a reasonable consumer receiving the participant’s display will understand the display is the participant’s, and that the display is controlled by the participant. Factors evidencing control include, but are not limited to, clear, conspicuous, written or verbal identification of the name of the brokerage firm under which the participant operates, except as otherwise provided for in this policy (e.g., displays of minimal information). All electronic display of IDX information conducted pursuant to this policy must comply with state law and regulations, and MLS rules. Any display of IDX information must be controlled by the participant, including the ability to comply with this policy and applicable MLS rules. (Amended 05/15)
To comply with this requirement MLSs must, if requested by a participant, promptly provide basic downloading of all active listings, a minimum of three (3) years sold* listing data, non-confidential pending sale listing data, and other listings authorized under applicable MLS rules. MLSs may not exclude any listings from the information which can be downloaded or displayed under IDX except those listings for which a seller has affirmatively directed that their listing or their property address not appear on the Internet or other electronic forms of display or distribution. Associations and MLSs can also offer alternative display options including framing of board, MLS, or other publicly-accessible sites displaying participants’ listings (with permission of the framed site). For purposes of this policy, “downloading” means electronic transmission of data from MLS servers to participants’ servers on a persistent or transient basis, at the discretion of the MLS. The MLS’s IDX download must be refreshed to accurately reflect all updates and status changes no less frequently than every twelve (12) hours. (Amended 11/15)
*Note: If “sold” information is not publicly accessible, sold listings can be removed from the MLSs’ IDX feeds/downloads. “Publicly accessible” sold information as used in IDX policy and rules, means data that is available electronically or in hard copy to the public from city, county, state and other government records. MLSs must provide for its Participants’ IDX displays publicly accessible sold information maintained by the MLS for at least the last three (3) years. (Amended 05/15)
MLSs that allow persistent downloading of the MLS database by participants for display or distribution on the Internet or by other electronic means may require that participants’ websites (1) utilize appropriate security protection, such as firewalls, provided that any security obligations imposed on participants may not be greater than those employed concurrently by the MLS, and/or (2) maintain an audit trail of consumer activity on participants’ websites and make that information available to the MLS if the MLS has reason to believe that a participant’s IDX website has caused or permitted a breach in the security of the data or a violation of MLS rules related to use by consumers. This policy does not require associations or MLSs to establish publicly accessible sites displaying participants’ listings. (Amended 05/12)
Unless state law requires prior written consent from listing brokers, listing brokers’ consent for IDX display may be presumed unless a listing broker affirmatively notifies the MLS that the listing broker refuses to permit display (either on a blanket or on a listing-by-listing basis). If a participant refuses on a blanket basis to permit IDX display of that participant’s listings, then that participant may not display the aggregated MLS data of other participants on an IDX site. Alternatively, MLSs may require that participants’ consent for IDX display of their listings by other participants be affirmatively established in writing. Even where participants have given blanket authority for other participants’ IDX display of their listings, such consent may be withdrawn on a listing-by-listing basis as instructed by the seller. (Amended 05/12)
Access to MLS databases, or any part of such databases, may not be provided to any person or entity not expressly authorized such access under the MLS rules. (Amended 11/09)
Participants’ Internet websites and other authorized display mechanisms may also provide other features, information, or services in addition to IDX information (including Virtual Office Website [“VOW”] functions) which are not subject to this policy. (Amended 05/12)
Policies Applicable to Participants’ IDX Websites and Displays
1. Participants must notify the MLS of their intention to display IDX information and give the MLS direct access for purposes of monitoring/ensuring compliance with applicable rules and policies. (Amended 05/12)
2. MLS participants may not use IDX-provided listings for any purpose other than IDX display. This does not require participants to prevent indexing of IDX listings by recognized search engines. (Amended 05/12)
3. Listings or property addresses of sellers who have directed their listing brokers to withhold their listing or property address from display on the Internet (including, but not limited to, publicly accessible websites or VOWs) shall not be accessible via IDX display. (Amended 05/12)
4. Participants may select the IDX listings they choose to display based only on objective criteria including, but not limited to, factors such as geography or location (“uptown”, “downtown”, etc.), list price, type of property (e.g., condominiums, cooperatives, single family detached, multi-family), cooperative compensation offered by listing brokers, type of listing (e.g., exclusive right-to-sell or exclusive agency), or the level of service provided by the listing firm. Selection of IDX listings to be displayed must be independently made by each participant. (Amended 05/12)
5. Participants must refresh all MLS downloads and displays automatically fed by those downloads not less frequently than every twelve (12) hours. (Amended 11/14)
6. Except as provided elsewhere in this policy or elsewhere in an MLS’s rules and regulations, an IDX display or participant engaging in IDX display may not distribute, provide, or make any portion of the MLS database available to any person or entity. (Amended 05/12)
7. When displaying listing content, a participant’s or user’s IDX display must clearly identify the name of the brokerage firm under which they operate in a readily visible color and typeface. This policy acknowledges that certain required disclosures may not be possible in displays of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of 200 characters or less) or for audio delivery of listing content. Minimal displays are exempt from the disclosure requirements established in this policy but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. Audio delivery of listing content is exempt from the disclosure requirements only when all required disclosures are subsequently delivered electronically to the registered consumer performing the property search or linked to through the device’s application.
8. With respect to any participant’s IDX display that
a. allows third-parties to write comments or reviews about particular listings or displays a hyperlink to such comments or reviews in immediate conjunction with particular listings, or
b. displays an automated estimate of the market value of the listing (or hyperlink to such estimate) in immediate conjunction with the listing,
either or both of those features shall be disabled or discontinued with respect to the seller’s listing at the request of the seller. The listing broker or agent shall communicate to the MLS that the seller has elected to have one or both of these features disabled or discontinued by all participants. Except for the foregoing and subject to paragraph 9, a participant’s IDX display may communicate the participant’s professional judgment concerning any listing. Nothing shall prevent an IDX display from notifying customers that a particular feature has been disabled at the request of the seller. (Amended 05/12)
9. Participants shall maintain a means (e.g., e-mail address, telephone number) to receive comments about the accuracy of any data or information that is added by or on behalf of the participant beyond that supplied by the MLS and that relates to a specific property. The participant shall correct or remove any false data or information relating to a specific property upon receipt of a communication from the listing broker or listing agent for that property explaining why the data or information is false. However, the participant shall not be obligated to remove or correct any data or information that simply reflects good faith opinion, advice, or professional judgment. (Amended 05/12)
10. An MLS participant (or where permitted locally, an MLS subscriber) may co-mingle the listings of other brokers received in an IDX feed with listings available from other MLS IDX feeds, provided all such displays are consistent with the IDX rules, and the MLS participant (or MLS subscriber) holds participatory rights in those MLSs. As used in this policy, “co-mingling” means that consumers are able to execute a single property search of multiple IDX data feeds resulting in the display of IDX information from each of the MLSs on a single search results page; and that participants may display listings from each IDX feed on a single webpage or display. (Adopted 11/14)
11. Participants shall not modify or manipulate information relating to other participants’ listings. MLS participants may augment their IDX displays of MLS data with applicable property information from other sources to appear on the same webpage or display, clearly separated from the data supplied by the MLS. The source(s) of the information must be clearly identified in the immediate proximity to such data. This requirement does not restrict the format of MLS data display or display of fewer than all of the available listings or fewer authorized fields. (Adopted 05/15)
MLSs may, but are not required to, give participants the ability to authorize electronic display of their listings by other participants outside the context of the Internet Data Exchange (“IDX”) policy and rules and the Virtual Office Website (“VOW”) policy and rules.
Participants may not be required to consent to display or distribution of their listings through non-IDX and non-VOW channels as a condition of participation in MLS or as a condition of participation in IDX, except as otherwise provided for in the IDX rules. Electronic display and distribution pursuant to this policy contemplates, but is not limited to, Short Message Services (“SMS”)/texting technologies, and interactive “social media.” All electronic displays and/or distribution of other participants’ listings conducted pursuant to this policy must comply with state law and regulations and applicable rules.
Displays addressed by this policy may be subject to technological limitations on disabling/discontinuing third-party comments/reviews, disabling/discontinuing automated displays of market value, “refreshing” displays on a periodic basis, and possibly other issues which should be taken into consideration when developing rules and policies governing such displays. (Adopted 11/12)
Section 18.1 – Authorization: Participants’ consent for display of their listings by other participants pursuant to these rules and regulations is presumed unless a participant affirmatively notifies the MLS that the participant refuses to permit display (either on a blanket or on a listing-by-listing basis). If a participant refuses on a blanket basis to permit the display of that participant’s listings, that participant may not download, frame or display the aggregated MLS data of other participants. Even where participants have given blanket authority for other participants to display their listings on IDX sites, such consent may be withdrawn on a listing-by-listing basis where the seller has prohibited all Internet display or other electronic forms of display or distribution. (Amended 04/19)
Section 18.2 – Participation: Participation in IDX is available to all MLS participants who are REALTORS® and who consent to display of their listings by other participants. (Amended 11/09)
Section 18.2.1 – Participants must notify the MLS of their intention to display IDX information and must give the MLS direct access for purposes of monitoring/ensuring compliance with applicable rules and policies. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.2.2 – MLS participants may not use IDX-provided listings for any purpose other than display as provided for in these rules. This does not require participants to prevent indexing of IDX listings by recognized search engines. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.2.3 – Listings, including property addresses, can be included in IDX displays except where a seller has directed their listing broker to withhold their listing or the listing’s property address from all display on the Internet (including, but not limited to, publicly-accessible websites or VOWs) or other electronic forms of display or distribution. (Amended 04/19)
Section 18.2.4 – Participants may select the listings they choose to display through IDX based only on objective criteria including, but not limited to, factors such as geography or location (“uptown,” “downtown,” etc.), list price, type of property (e.g., condominiums, cooperatives, single-family detached, multi-family), cooperative compensation offered by listing brokers, type of listing (e.g., exclusive right-to-sell or exclusive agency), or the level of service being provided by the listing firm. Selection of listings displayed through IDX must be independently made by each participant. (Amended 04/19)
Section 18.2.5 – Participants must refresh all MLS downloads and IDX displays automatically fed by those downloads at least once every twelve (12) hours. (Amended 11/14)
Section 18.2.6 – Except as provided in the IDX policy and these rules, an IDX site or a participant or user operating an IDX site or displaying IDX information as otherwise permitted may not distribute, provide, or make any portion of the MLS database available to any person or entity. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.2.7 – Any IDX display controlled by a participant must clearly identify the name of the brokerage firm under which they operate in a readily visible color and typeface. For purposes of the IDX policy and these rules, “control” means the ability to add, delete, modify and update information as required by the IDX policy and MLS rules. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.2.8 – Any IDX display controlled by a participant or subscriber that
a. allows third-parties to write comments or reviews about particular listings or displays a hyperlink to such comments or reviews in immediate conjunction with particular listings, or
b. displays an automated estimate of the market value of the listing (or hyperlink to such estimate) in immediate conjunction with the listing,
either or both of those features shall be disabled or discontinued for the seller’s listings at the request of the seller. The listing broker or agent shall communicate to the MLS that the seller has elected to have one or both of these features disabled or discontinued on all displays controlled by participants. Except for the foregoing and subject to Section 18.2.9, a participant’s IDX display may communicate the participant’s professional judgment concerning any listing. Nothing shall prevent an IDX display from notifying its customers that a particular feature has been disabled at the request of the seller. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.2.9 – Participants shall maintain a means (e.g., e-mail address, telephone number) to receive comments about the accuracy of any data or information that is added by or on behalf of the participant beyond that supplied by the MLS and that relates to a specific property. Participants shall correct or remove any false data or information relating to a specific property upon receipt of a communication from the listing broker or listing agent for the property explaining why the data or information is false. However, participants shall not be obligated to remove or correct any data or information that simply reflects good faith opinion, advice, or professional judgment. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.2.10 – An MLS Participant (or where permitted locally, an MLS Subscriber) may co-mingle the listings of other brokers received in an IDX feed with listings available from other MLS IDX feeds, provided all such displays are consistent with the IDX rules, and the MLS Participant (or MLS Subscriber) holds participatory rights in those MLSs. As used in this policy, “co-mingling” means that consumers are able to execute a single property search of multiple IDX data feeds resulting in the display of IDX information from each of the MLSs on a single search results page; and that Participants may display listings from each IDX feed on a single webpage or display. (Adopted 11/14)
Section 18.2.11 – Participants shall not modify or manipulate information relating to other participants listings. MLS participants may augment their IDX display of MLS data with applicable property information from other sources to appear on the same webpage or display, clearly separated by the data supplied by the MLS. The source(s) of the information must be clearly identified in the immediate proximity to such data. This requirement does not restrict the format of MLS data display or display of fewer than all of the available listings or fewer authorized fields (Adopted 05/15).
Section 18.2.12 – All listings displayed pursuant to IDX shall identify the listing firm 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. Displays of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of two hundred [200] characters or less) are exempt from this requirement but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. For audio delivery of listing content, all required disclosures must be subsequently delivered electronically to the registered consumer performing the property search or linked to through the devices application. (Amended 04/19)
Section 18.3 – Display: Display of listing information pursuant to IDX is subject to the following rules:
Section 18.3.1 – Listings displayed pursuant to IDX shall contain only those fields of data designated by the MLS. Display of all other fields (as determined by the MLS) is prohibited. Confidential fields intended only for other MLS participants and users (e.g., cooperative compensation offers, showing instructions, property security information, etc.) may not be displayed. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.3.2 – Deleted May 2015.
Section 18.3.3 – Moved June 2017 to section 8.2.12.
Section 18.3.4 – All listing displayed pursuant to IDX shall identify the listing agent.
Section 18.3.5 – Non-principal brokers and sales licensees affiliated with IDX participants may display information available through IDX on their own websites subject to their participant’s consent and control and the requirements of state law and/or regulation.
Section 18.3.6 – Deleted November 2006.
Section 18.3.7 – All listings displayed pursuant to IDX shall show the MLS as the source of the information. Displays of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of two hundred [200] characters or less) are exempt from this requirement but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.3.8 – Participants (and their affiliated licensees, if applicable) shall indicate on their websites that IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers’ personal, non-commercial
use, that it may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties
consumers may be interested in purchasing, and that the data is deemed reliable but is
not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. The MLS may, at its discretion, require use of other
disclaimers as necessary to protect participants and/or the MLS from liability. Displays
of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of two hundred
[200] characters or less) are exempt from this requirement but only when linked directly
to a display that includes all required disclosures. (Amended 05/12)
Section 18.3.9 – The data consumers can retrieve or download in response to an inquiry shall be determined by the MLS but in no instance shall be limited to fewer than five hundred (500) listings or fifty percent (50%) of the listings available for IDX display, whichever is fewer. (Amended 04/19)
Section 18.3.10 – The right to display other participants’ listings pursuant to IDX shall be limited to a participant’s office(s) holding participatory rights in this MLS.
Section 18.3.11 – Listings obtained through IDX feeds from REALTOR® Association MLSs where the MLS Participant holds participatory rights must be displayed separately from listings obtained from other sources. Listings obtained from other sources (e.g., from other MLSs, from non-participating brokers, etc.) must display the source from which each such listing was obtained. Displays of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of two hundred [200] characters or less) are exempt from this requirement but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. (Amended 11/14)
Note: An MLS Participant (or where permitted locally, an MLS Subscriber) may co-mingle the listings of other brokers received in an IDX feed with listings available from other MLS IDX feeds, provided all such displays are consistent with the IDX rules, and the MLS Participant (or MLS Subscriber) holds participatory rights in those MLSs. As used in this policy, “co-mingling” means that consumers are able to execute a single property search of multiple IDX data feeds resulting in the display of IDX information from each of the MLSs on a single search results page; and that Participants may display listings from each IDX feed on a single webpage or display.
Section 18.3.12 – Display of expired, withdrawn, or sold listings* is prohibited.
*Note: If “sold” information is publicly accessible, display of “sold” listings may not be prohibited.
Section 18.3.13 – Display of seller’s(s’) and/or occupant’s(s’) name(s), phone number(s), and e-mail address(es) is prohibited.
Virtual Office Websites (VOWs)
Section 19 – Virtual Office Websites (VOWs)
Section 19.1 VOW Defined
A. A “Virtual Office Website” (VOW) is a participant’s Internet website, or a feature of a participant’s website, through which the participant is capable of providing real estate brokerage services to consumers with whom the participant has first established a broker-consumer relationship (as defined by state law) where the consumer has the opportunity to search MLS listing information, subject to the participant’s oversight, supervision, and accountability. A non-principal broker or sales licensee affiliated with a participant may, with his or her participant’s consent, operate a VOW. Any VOW of a non-principal broker or sales licensee is subject to the participant’s oversight, supervision, and accountability.
B. As used in Section 19 of these rules, the term “participant” includes a participant’s affiliated non-principal brokers and sales licensees—except when the term is used in the phrases “participant’s consent” and “participant’s oversight, supervision, and accountability”. References to “VOW” and “VOWs” include all Virtual Office Websites, whether operated by a participant, by a non-principal broker or sales licensee, or by an “Affiliated VOW Partner” (AVP) on behalf of a participant.
C. “Affiliated VOW Partner” (AVP) refers to an entity or person designated by a participant to operate a VOW on behalf of the participant, subject to the participant’s supervision, accountability, and compliance with the VOW policy. No AVP has independent participation rights in the MLS by virtue of its right to receive information on behalf of a participant. No AVP has the right to use MLS listing information, except in connection with operation of a VOW on behalf of one or more participants. Access by an AVP to MLS listing information is derivative of the rights of the participant on whose behalf the AVP operates a VOW.
D. As used in Section 19 of these rules, the term “MLS listing information” refers to active listing information and sold data provided by participants to the MLS and aggregated and distributed by the MLS to participants.
Section 19.2
A. The right of a participant’s VOW to display MLS listing information is limited to that supplied by the MLS(s) in which the participant has participatory rights. However, a participant with offices participating in different MLSs may operate a master website with links to the VOWs of the other offices.
B. Subject to the provisions of the VOW policy and these rules, a participant’s VOW, including any VOW operated on behalf of a participant by an AVP, may provide other features, information, or functions, e.g., “Internet Data Exchange” (IDX).
C. Except as otherwise provided in the VOW policy or in these rules, a participant need not obtain separate permission from other MLS participants whose listings will be displayed on the participant’s VOW.
Section 19.3
A. Before permitting any consumer to search for or retrieve any MLS listing information on his or her VOW, the participant must take each of the following steps.:
i. The participant must first establish with that consumer a lawful broker-consumer relationship (as defined by state law), including completion of all actions required by state law in connection with providing real estate brokerage services to clients and customers (hereinafter, “Registrants”). Such actions shall include, but are not limited to, satisfying all applicable agency, non-agency, and other disclosure obligations, and execution of any required agreements.
ii. The participant must obtain the name of and a valid e-mail address for each Registrant. The participant must send an e-mail to the address provided by the Registrant confirming that the Registrant has agreed to the terms of use (described in Subsection d., below). The participant must verify that the e-mail address provided by the Registrant is valid and that the Registrant has agreed to the terms of use.
iii. The participant must require each Registrant to have a user name and a password, the combination of which is different from those of all other Registrants on the VOW. The participant may, at his or her option, supply the user name and password or may allow the Registrant to establish its user name and password. The participant must also assure that any e-mail address is associated with only one user name and password.
B. The participant must assure that each Registrant’s password expires on a date certain, but may provide for renewal of the password. The participant must at all times maintain a record of the name, e-mail address, user name, and current password of each Registrant. The participant must keep such records for not less than one hundred eighty (180) days after the expiration of the validity of the Registrant’s password.
C. If the MLS has reason to believe that a participant’s VOW has caused or permitted a breach in the security of MLS listing information or a violation of MLS rules, the participant shall, upon request of the MLS, provide the name, e-mail address, user name, and current password, of any Registrant suspected of involvement in the breach or violation. The participant shall also, if requested by the MLS, provide an audit trail of activity by any such Registrant.
D. The participant shall require each Registrant to review and affirmatively to express agreement (by mouse click or otherwise) to a terms of use provision that provides at least the following:
i. that the Registrant acknowledges entering into a lawful consumer-broker relationship with the participant
ii. that all information obtained by the Registrant from the VOW is intended only for the Registrant’s personal, non-commercial use
iii. that the Registrant has a bona fide interest in the purchase, sale, or lease of real estate of the type being offered through the VOW
iv. that the Registrant will not copy, redistribute, or retransmit any of the information provided, except in connection with the Registrant’s consideration of the purchase or sale of an individual property
v. that the Registrant acknowledges the MLS’ ownership of and the validity of the MLS’ copyright in the MLS database
E. The terms of use agreement may not impose a financial obligation on the Registrant or create any representation agreement between the Registrant and the participant. Any agreement entered into at any time between the participant and Registrant imposing a financial obligation on the Registrant or creating representation of the Registrant by the participant must be established separately from the terms of use, must be prominently labeled as such, and may not be accepted solely by mouse click.
F. The terms of use agreement shall also expressly authorize the MLS and other MLS participants or their duly authorized representatives to access the VOW for the purposes of verifying compliance with MLS rules and monitoring display of participants’ listings by the VOW. The agreement may also include such other provisions as may be agreed to between the participant and the Registrant.
Section 19.4 – A participant’s VOW must prominently display an e-mail address, telephone number, or specific identification of another mode of communication (e.g., live chat) by which a consumer can contact the participant to ask questions or get more information about any property displayed on the VOW. The participant or a non-principal broker or sales licensee licensed with the participant must be willing and able to respond knowledgeably to inquiries from Registrants about properties within the market area served by that participant and displayed on the VOW.
Section 19.5 – A participant’s VOW must employ reasonable efforts to monitor for and prevent misappropriation, scraping, and other unauthorized uses of MLS listing information. A participant’s VOW shall utilize appropriate security protection such as firewalls as long as this requirement does not impose security obligations greater than those employed concurrently by the MLS.
Section 19.6 –
A. A participant’s VOW shall not display the listings or property addresses of any seller who has affirmatively directed the listing broker to withhold the seller’s listing or property address from display on the Internet. The listing broker shall communicate to the MLS that the seller has elected not to permit display of the listing or property address on the Internet. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a participant who operates a VOW may provide to consumers via other delivery mechanisms, such as e-mail, fax, or otherwise, the listings of sellers who have determined not to have the listing for their property displayed on the Internet.
B. A participant who lists a property for a seller who has elected not to have the property
listing or the property address displayed on the Internet shall cause the seller to execute a document that includes the following (or a substantially similar) provision.
C. The participant shall retain such forms for at least one (1) year from the date they are signed or one (1) year from the date the listing goes off the market, whichever is greater.
Section 19.7
A. Subject to Subsection b., below, a participant’s VOW may allow third-parties:
i. to write comments or reviews about particular listings or display a hyperlink to
Seller Opt-out Form
1. Check one.
a. I have advised my broker or sales agent that I do not want the listed property to be displayed on the Internet.
b. I have advised my broker or sales agent that I do not want the address of the listed property to be displayed on the Internet.
2. I understand and acknowledge that if I have selected Option a., consumers who conduct searches for listings on the Internet will not see information about the listed property in response to their searches.
_____________
Initials of Seller such comments or reviews in immediate conjunction with particular listings, or
ii. to display an automated estimate of the market value of the listing (or hyperlink to such estimate) in immediate conjunction with the listing.
B. Notwithstanding the foregoing, at the request of a seller, the participant shall disable or discontinue either or both of those features described in Subsection a. as to any listing of the seller. The listing broker or agent shall communicate to the MLS that the seller has elected to have one or both of these features disabled or discontinued on all participants’ websites. Subject to the foregoing and to Section 19.8, a participant’s VOW may communicate the participant’s professional judgment concerning any listing. A participant’s VOW may notify its customers that a particular feature has been disabled at the request of the seller.
Section 19.8 – A participant’s VOW shall maintain a means (e.g., e-mail address, telephone number) to receive comments from the listing broker about the accuracy of any information that is added by or on behalf of the participant beyond that supplied by the MLS and that relates to a specific property displayed on the VOW. The participant shall correct or remove any false information relating to a specific property within forty-eight (48) hours following receipt of a communication from the listing broker explaining why the data or information is false. The participant shall not, however, be obligated to correct or remove any data or information that simply reflects good faith opinion, advice, or professional judgment.
Section 19.9 – A participant shall cause the MLS listing information available on its VOW to be refreshed at least once every three (3) days.
Section 19.10 – Except as provided in these rules, in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ VOW policy, or in any other applicable MLS rules or policies, no participant shall distribute, provide, or make accessible any portion of the MLS listing information to any person or entity.
Section 19.11 – A participant’s VOW must display the participant’s privacy policy informing Registrants of all of the ways in which information that they provide may be used.
Section 19.12 – A participant’s VOW may exclude listings from display based only on objective criteria, including, but not limited to, factors such as geography, list price, type of property, cooperative compensation offered by listing broker, and whether the listing broker is a REALTOR®.
Section 19.13 – A participant who intends to operate a VOW to display MLS listing information must notify the MLS of its intention to establish a VOW and must make the VOW readily accessible to the MLS and to all MLS participants for purposes of verifying compliance with these rules, the VOW policy, and any other applicable MLS rules or policies.
Section 19.14 – A participant may operate more than one VOW himself or herself or through an AVP. A participant who operates his or her own VOW may contract with an AVP to have the AVP operate other VOWs on his or her behalf. However, any VOW operated on behalf of a participant by an AVP is subject to the supervision and accountability of the participant.

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