NAR published revised guidelines this year that outline the definition of a Participant in the MLS. It is a long description, so I will put it at the end. One key element is that the mere possession of a broker’s license is not sufficient, the broker must actively endeavor to make or accept offers of cooperation and compensation with respect to properties of the type that are listed on the MLS.
If you are an NAR affiliated MLS, you probably have already adopted this language and amended your rules and regulations.
Some MLSs go further. They require the broker to take training. Some state Associations go even further, like in Arizona.
Effective January 1, 2013, all designated brokers, self-employed brokers and associate brokers who have been delegated authority (in writing) to review contracts and similar instruments on behalf of the designated broker will be required to take a nine-hour broker management clinic (BMC).
If you are within your two-year renewal period (meaning you must renew before August 2014), you are eligible to fulfill your BMC requirement by taking a three-hour clinic through December 2012.
Definition of MLS Participant (Policy Statement 7.9)
Where the term REALTOR® is used in this explanation of policy in connection with the word member or the word participant, it shall be construed to mean the REALTOR® principal or principals, of this or any other association, or a firm comprised of REALTOR® principals participating in a multiple listing service owned and operated by the board. Participatory rights shall be held by an individual principal broker unless determined by the association or MLS to be held by a firm. It shall not be construed to include individuals other than a principal or principals who are REALTOR® members of this or any other association, or who are legally entitled to participate without association membership. However, under no circumstances is any
*Compensation is unconditional except where local MLS rules permit listing brokers to reserve the right to reduce compensation offers to cooperating brokers in the event that the commission established in a listing contract is reduced by court action or by actions of a lender. Refer to Part Two, G., Section 1, Information Specifying the Compensation on Each Listing Filed with a Multiple Listing Service of an Association of REALTORS®, Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy. (Adopted 11/98)
individual or firm, regardless of membership status, entitled to MLS membership or participation unless they hold a current, valid real estate broker’s license and offer or accept cooperation and 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 an association multiple listing service is strictly limited to the activities authorized under a participant’s licensure(s) or certification and unauthorized uses are prohibited. (Amended 11/08)
Mere possession of a broker’s license is not sufficient to qualify for MLS participation. Rather, the requirement that an individual or firm offers or accepts cooperation and compensation means that the participant actively endeavors during the operation of its real estate business to list real property of the type listed on the MLS and/or to accept offers of cooperation and compensation made by listing brokers or agents in the MLS. “Actively” means on a continual and ongoing basis during the operation of the participant’s real estate business. The “actively” requirement is not intended to preclude MLS participation by a participant or potential participant that operates a real estate business on a part-time, seasonal, or similarly time-limited basis or that has its business interrupted by periods of relative inactivity occasioned by market conditions. Similarly, the requirement is not intended to deny MLS participation to a participant or potential participant who has not achieved a minimum number of transactions despite good faith efforts. Nor is it intended to permit an MLS to deny participation based on the level of service provided by the participant or potential participant as long as the level of service satisfies state law. (Adopted 11/08)
The key is that the participant or potential participant actively endeavors to make or accept offers of cooperation and compensation with respect to properties of the type that are listed on the MLS in which participation is sought. This requirement does not permit an MLS to deny participation to a participant or potential participant that operates a “Virtual Office Website” (VOW) (including a VOW that the participant uses to refer customers to other participants) if the participant or potential participant actively endeavors to make or accept offers of cooperation and compensation. An MLS may evaluate whether a participant or potential participant actively endeavors during the operation of its real estate business to offer or accept cooperation and compensation only if the MLS has a reasonable basis to believe that the participant or potential participant is in fact not doing so. The membership requirement shall be applied in a nondiscriminatory manner to all participants and potential participants. (Adopted 11/08)