(Updated May 4th, 2020) – The NAR Emerging Issues workgroup has developed a policy statement that clears up a misconception about the data that a broker participant contributes to an MLS. It gives brokers the explicit right to get their data back. The committee has extended their recommendation to the NAR Policy Committee and commenting phase is concluded. On May 4th, the policy was passed by the MLS Policy Committee.

Attention please concept of important announcement. Vector illustration EPS10

To be clear, the data contributed to the MLS is the broker’s data. This policy affirms that the broker may receive the data back in a data feed. For many reading this, it may sound like a “duh” – of course, brokers may get their data back. However, there are many MLSs who deny brokers access to their data because the current MLS policy only identifies IDX and VOW data feed access.

The difference between IDX or VOW data feeds and this broker data feed is important. IDX and VOW data feeds are designed for the full compilation of the MLS data (think every broker participant’s data). Because IDX and VOW are full data feeds, they have many healthy restrictions on the data license to prohibit a broker from misuse of another broker’s data. Additionally, the payload of fields for IDX and VOW is limited and does not represent the full data record of all information provided to the MLS from the broker.

The Multiple Listing Issues & Policies Committee made the following motion.

MLS Policy - May 2020

During a call hosted on April 1st, 2020 by the Council of MLS, there was an active chat with questions. Here are some suggestions that we took note of:

  • Off-market data may be better articulated as “not less” than the previous (3) years.
  • Some recommended changing the fee to “reasonable” rather than “Actual costs.”
  • WAV Group suggested that the language include details about the data to include all data contributed by the broker participant (not the limited data set of IDX or VOW).
  • WAV Group suggested that the broker has the right to request images returned in the condition in which they were contributed (same file size without MLS watermark) (so they can be used in Flyers, Virtual Tours, and other broker marketing tools that require high-resolution images without MLS branding.

This is a slight modification of MLS policy that a majority of MLSs already comply with. I see this as more of an administrative clarification of an understanding that already exists.

Now that the MLS Policy Committee has passed the recommendation, they will submit their committee report to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(R) Board of Directors for ratification.