Clear Cooperation Policy in the Spotlight

A contentious proposal for the NAR Handbook on Multiple Listings Policy on the agenda attracted hundreds of attendees to Saturday morning's MLS Forum, which immediately preceded the Multiple Issues & Policies Committee meeting committee meeting during which the proposal was debated and voted on.

The proposal would add the following Section 8 to NAR MLS Policy: "Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public."

Detractors assert that the proposal would potentially inhibit innovative and legal business practices surrounding "coming soon" and pocket listings.

Proponents point to cooperation as the fundamental cornerstone of the National Association of REALTORS® and Article 3 of the Code of Ethics.

The policy does not prohibit public marketing but rather requires the sharing of a listing with other participants once public marketing has been undertaken. Supporters believe that limiting the ability of REALTORS® to publicly market listings without offering cooperation with other REALTORS® is contrary to the interests of consumers and antithetical to the ethical mandate of cooperation, except where cooperation is not in the best interests of the client.

Now that the policy proposal was advanced by the Multiple Listing Issues & Policies Committee, this proposal will head to the Executive Committee on Nov. 10 and then to the Board of Directors on Nov. 11.

If approved by the Board of Directors, the Policy would become effective on Jan. 1, 2020 with implementation of the policy required by May 1, 2020.