The law offices of Larson/Sobotka have written a very good article on their blog about the NAR policy that limits the actions of an MLS to redistribute or repurpose broker (participant) data without the consent of the broker.
Larson writes: “If your MLS is affiliated with NAR and subject to NAR policy, it is bound by NAR Statement of MLS Policy 7.85:
Use of listings and listing information by MLSs for purposes other than the defined purposes of MLS requires participants consent. Such consent cannot be required as a condition of obtaining or maintaining MLS participatory rights. MLSs may presume such consent provided that listing brokers are given adequate prior notice of any intended use unrelated to the defined purpose of MLS, and given the opportunity to affirmatively withhold consent for that use.” View the entire post here
Perhaps this is just a matter of paperwork to provide adequate prior notice to the brokers – but what if they say no?
There are a variety of disruptive new business developments in our industry that challenge the custody of listing data which is stored in the MLS. Listing Syndication is one, selling or sharing active listing data is another. I am sure there are more.
Perhaps NAR needs to modify their policy to allow MLSs and their boards of directors make decisions without the full consent of each participant. Alternatively, MLS vendors may want to chart a course to provide brokers with the opportunity to opt-in or out of these types of programs.
i imagine that brokers will be pretty stoked about getting paid for their listing data from third party relationships that are facilitated by their MLS for their consideration. It would seem that without local or NAR policy change, or a new way to manage broker consent, progress in our industry may be dampened.