Rules & Regulations

The Multiple Listing Service is your primary tool for competing in today’s real estate market and maintaining the integrity of the database is critical to projecting a professional image of REALTORS® while limiting risk. To ensure the database’s accuracy, it is essential all members adhere to the MLS Rules and Regulations.
Click a section below to read its contents. You may also read the PDF version by clicking here.

Section 1 - Listing Procedures

Listings of real property of the following types, which are listed subject to a real estate broker’s license, and are located within service area of the multiple listing service, and are taken by participants on (indicate form[s] of listing[s] accepted by the Service shall be delivered to the multiple listing service within 72 hours after all necessary signatures of seller(s) have been obtained: (Amended 11/01

The types of properties that are required to be published through the Service,

·         Residential single family

·         Condominiums

·         Multi-family

·         Residential lots/acreage

·         Commercial improved

·         Commercial land/unimproved

·         Rural acreage & Farm & Ranch.

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 are: 1. Residential rental 2. Commercial leases 3. New construction: Note: If a vacant lot can only be sold with improvement, the property should be listed reflecting total price of lot and improvement as residential or applicable type. Listings to be placed in MLS shall be taken as an Exclusive Right To Sell or Exclusive AgencyNet Listings and open listings are not acceptable.

Note: Only real property may be listed for sale in the MLS. Mobile homes listed for sale must include the land; without the land it is considered chattel. A business listed for sale must include the building and land; without the building and land it is considered personal property. Only real property may be sold through the MLS.

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. May 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).
  3. The listing agreement must include the seller’s written authorization to submit the agreement to Multiple Listing Service. Amended 11/96
  4. The different types of listing agreements that the MLS shall accept include: (a) exclusive right to sell and (b) exclusive agency.

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 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 agency listing also authorizes the listing broker, as exclusive agent, to offer cooperation and compensation on blanket unilateral basis, but also reserves 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

Section 1.1.1- 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 1.1.2-Listing types required to be filed by the service should be filed within (72) hours or (3) days of commencement of fully executed listing agreement.  

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.  The 72 hour or three day rule shall apply to listings being submitted under the “SCHEDULED” (SCHD) status.

(a) Accurate information shall be information relative to the promotion of the property and shall not include listing office/agent promotion. Therefore; all phone numbers, web addresses, and email addresses are not permitted except in the field designed for contact information or in agent remarks.

(b) A minimum of four photos shall be submitted to the MLS for each property as a required field except where sellers expressly direct that photographs of their property not appear in the MLS compilation. The photo shall be descriptive of what is being soldA plat or survey of the property being sold or an artist rendering may be submitted in lieu of a photo. Digital images shall not contain digitally enhanced modifications that alter or misrepresent the condition or appearance of the listed property’s structure or grounds included in the sale or lease. (e.g. adding or modifying a swimming pool or landscaping, removal of objects such as powerlines, utility boxes, fire hydrants etc.) Digital images may include the use of virtual staging which is limited to the addition of furnishings and wall décor that would otherwise be considered personal property and not conveyed in the sale of the property.  Participants shall indicate by selecting virtually staged option on the pick list under photo description if home was virtually staged. Photos submitted may not include signs or other identification of the Brokerage and/or Agent or contact phone numbers and shall not violate any copy right laws.

(c) Scheduled Listings: A fully executed listing agreement that has been entered into the MLS may request that the distribution of that listing to participants be restricted for a period of up to 14 days upon submission of the “Sellers Authorization to Exclude Listing” form. Listings placed under the “Scheduled” status will suspend the days on market counter. The use of this status shall only be allowed for the initial entry into the MLS by a single brokerage. Limited information for listings under this status will be made available to all participants including: date of expected status change, address, and listing brokerage.

Section 1.3 – Exempted Listings: If the seller refuses to permit the listing to be disseminated by the Service, the Participant may upon explaining the benefits of MLS to the seller take the listing (“office exclusive”) in which case a “Seller’s Authorization to Exclude Listing” form, signed by the seller, shall be filed with the service within three days of a signed listing agreement but not disseminated to the Participants. As a provision of the rules and regulations the MLS Committee or staff may request a copy of the listing agreement requesting that the listing be excluded from the MLS.

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 twenty-four (24) hours (excepting weekends, holidays, and postal holidays) after the authorized change is received by the listing broker. The status of a listing cannot be changed for the exclusive purpose of re-listing the property as “new”.  A property will only be listed as “new” when a seller has entered into a subsequent listing agreement.

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. This would indicate that the property is not being shown; however, a legal listing agreement still exists.
  • Cancelled – Sellers do not have the unilateral right to require an MLS to withdraw a listing without the broker’s concurrence. However, when a seller (s) can document that his exclusive relationship with the listing broker has been terminated, the Broker or the Multiple Listing Service may remove the listing at the request of the seller.  In sucheventthe listing will be reported as expired/cancelledindicating that a legal listing agreement no longer exists. Amended 11/96 M
  • 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 M

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 nonparticipants. M
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. Amended 11/01

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 and renewals of listings must be signed by the seller(s). Amended 11/01 M

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 – 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, provided that the property is within the state of Texas, will be accepted if submitted voluntarily by a Participant, but cannot be required by the Service. Once listing is submitted it is subject to all MLS Rules and Regulations. Amended 11/17 M

Note:– Days on market (DOM) and cumulative days on market (CDOM) are tracked and made available to Participants/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 does not authorize inclusion of such information in advertisements, including IDX display, of other participants’ listings.

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. M

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. M

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. M

Section 2 - Selling Procedures

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) M

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 M

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.

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. Amended 11/05 M

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.  M 1/1/19

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.

Section 2.5-Status changes, including final closing of sales and sales 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 the 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.

NOTE:  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.

Section 2.6 – Sales of listed property, all mandatory data fields must be reported promptly by the listing brokers.  Failure to report sales price may result in a fine of $10,000. Failure to pay the fine may result in the termination of the Broker from the service.

Sales price is confidential and the use is limited 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.

Section 2.7-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 2.8-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 2.9-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 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.

Section 4 - Prohibitions

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.

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.

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 16 of the REALTORS®‘ Code of Ethics, its Standards of Practice, and its Case Interpretations.

Section 5 - Division of Commissions

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.

Note 1: 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.

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.

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 submitting 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.

*The compensation specified on listings filed with the multiple listing service shall appear in one of two forms.  The essential and appropriate requirement by an association 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 submitting 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 5/10) Note: MLS’s may also, as a matter of local discretion, allow participants to offer cooperative compensation as a percentage of the net sales price, with the net sales price defined as the gross sales price minus buyer upgrades (new construction) and seller concessions (as defined by the MLS unless otherwise defined by state law or regulation. (Adopted 5/08)

While MLS’s are not required to authorize participants to offer cooperative compensation based on net sales prices, those that do permit such offers must define “seller concessions” for purposes other than new construction, unless that term is defined by applicable state law or regulation.  The following definition of “seller concessions” is suggested but not required for adoption:

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 05/12)

Section 5.0.1: Participants may, but are not required to, disclose potential short sales to other Participants and subscribers.  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.

Section 5.0.2: Where participants 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 the listing and cooperating participants, listing participants shall disclose to cooperating participants in writing the total reduction in the gross commission and the amount which the compensation payable to the cooperating broker will be reduced within 24 hours of receipt of notification from the lender.

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.

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.

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: An applicant for participation in the Service shall pay an application fee of $432.50 with such fee to accompany the application.

Note: The initial participation fee shall approximate the cost of bringing the Service to the Participant.

(b) Recurring Participation Fee: The quarterly participation fee of each Participant shall be an amount equal to the quarterly fee established by the Board of Directors times each salesperson and 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, or appraiser trainee 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 each calendar quarter. A late fee of $30 will be assessed for payment received after the 1st day of the calendar quarter.  Quarterly fees will be prorated for new Participants/Subscribers to the service upon application. Prorated fees will not be granted for any Participant/Subscriber who had access to the Service the prior calendar quarter. Payment of fees will be made by the Participant except that a Subscriber to the service may make payments unless instructed otherwise by the Participant.  Participants shall pay $24 per calendar quarter for all registered unlicensed assistants.

Section 7 - Compliance with Rules

The following action may be taken for noncompliance with the rules:

(a) for failure to pay any service quarterly fee within one (1) day of the date due, the Service shall be suspended until service charges or fees are paid in full.

(b) for failure to comply with any other rule, the provisions of Sections 9 and 9.1 shall apply.

Section 7.2-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. This provision does not eliminate the Participant’s ultimate responsibility and accountability for all users or subscribers affiliated with the Participant.

Policy statement 7.43 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. (Amended 11/17)

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 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. (Amended 8/18)  (Amended 1/19)M

Policy Statement 7.45 All MLS fees, dues, and charges, including, but not limited to, initial participation fees, recurring participation fees, listing origination fees, subscription fees, etc., may be assessed to MLS participants or to individual users or subscribers. This does not preclude an MLS participant from being reimbursed by affiliated licensees for fees or charges incurred offer on their behalf pursuant to any in-house agreement that may exist. If direct billing of subscribers is utilized, the ultimate responsibility for delinquent dues, fees, and charges is that of the participant, unless an MLS, by adoption of appropriate rules or bylaws, makes subscribers exclusively responsible for such financial obligations. (Amended 2/95) M  

Merger or Dissolution of Association or MLS In cases of merger or dissolution of an association of Realtors® or an MLS, the advice of the organization(s) accountant or tax advisor should be sought. (Adopted 11/04) R

Section 8 - 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 8.1-Attendance: In compliance with Article XII, Section 4 of SABOR Bylaws. Three unexcused absences or four total absences during any calendar year shall be construed to be a resignation from the Committee.

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.

Section 8.4 –A focus group shall be appointed as a yearly procedure by the Chairman of the MLS Committee to review and recommend changes in the MLS Rules and Regulations, as necessary. The focus group shall be formed from members of the MLS Committee not later than August 1 of each year, and shall submit their report to the Board of Directors, through the MLS Committee no later than October 31 of each year for approval.

Section 9 - Enforcement of Rules or Disputes

Consideration of Alleged Violations: The Committee (Board of Directors) 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 (Board of Directors). M 1/1/19

Section 9.1-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 board of directors of the service, and if the violation is determined, the board of directors may direct the imposition of sanction, provided the recipient of such sanction may request a hearing before the Professional Standards Committee at the Texas Association of REALTORS®  in accordance with the bylaws and rules and regulations of the Board of REALTORS® within twenty (20) days following receipt of the directors decision.

If, rather than conducting an administrative review, the MLS has a procedure established to conduct hearings, any appeal of the decision of the hearing tribunal may be appealed to the board of directors of the MLS within twenty (20) days of the tribunal’s decision. Alleged violations involving unethical conduct shall be referred to the professional standards committee of the association of REALTORS® for processing in accordance with the professional standards procedures of the association. If the charge alleges a refusal to arbitrate, such charge shall be referred directly to the board of directors of the association of REALTORS®. M 1/1/19

Section 9.2 Complaints of Unethical Conduct

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 committee (Board of Directors) 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 committee (Board of Directors) that the use is authorized.  Any proof submitted will be considered by the Committee (Board of Directors), and a decision of whether it establishes authority to use the listing content will be made within thirty (30) days.

If the Committee (Board of Directors) determines that the use of the content was unauthorized, the Committee (Board of Directors) 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 Committee’s (Board of Director’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. M

Section 9.2  – Complaints of Unauthorized Use of Listing Content

SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS: Specific violations include, but are not limited to:

LOCK BOX

VIOLATIONS – a) Sharing of electronic keys. A penalty of $100 for the 1st offense and $300 for the 2nd offense will be assessed the keyholder through the Designate. b) Keeping (PIN) personal identification number code with the keypad. A penalty of $100 for the 1st offense and $300 for the 2nd offense will be assessed to the keyholder through the Designate. c) Unauthorized entry to a listing. A minimum of $100 for the first offense and a minimum of $300 on a second offense will be assessed to the keyholder through the Designate.

LATE SUBMISSION OF LISITING VIOLATION – Listing must be inputted into the system within 72 hours of commencement of fully executed listing agreement. A fine of $500 will be assessed for failure to submit a listing within 72 Hours.

OTHER SPECIFIC MLS VIOLATIONS include but are not limited to a) Late reporting of changes in status – Changes are to be made within 24 hours as defined in Section 1.4 I – MLS Submission. b) Incorrect/incomplete information – All listings must contain correct and complete information in the required fields.  A minimum $50 for a 1st offense with a minimum of $100 for subsequent offenses is the established guideline.

Notification of listings verified by the “listing checker program” will be sent via email.  Fines will be assessed after failure to correct the error within 48 hours after the 1st notification to Broker/Agent/Mgr.

Photographs published in MLS cannot be copied from listings from one brokerage and added to another brokerage listings without written authorization. A minimum fine of $50 will be assessed and photos will be removed.

If the alleged offense is a violation of the rules and regulations of the service and does not involve a charge of alleged violation of one or more of the provisions of Section 16 of the rules and regulations or a request for arbitration, it may be administratively considered and determined by the board of directors of the MLS and if a violation is determined, the board of directors  may direct the imposition of sanction provided the recipient of such sanction may request a hearing by the professional standards committee of the Texas Association in accordance with the bylaws of the association of REALTORS®.  Alleged violations of Section 16 of the rules and regulations shall be referred to the association’s grievance committee for processing in accordance with the professional standards procedures of the association. (Amended 2/98)

If, rather than conducting an administrative review, the MLS has a procedure established to conduct hearings, any appeal of the decision of the hearing tribunal may be appealed to the board of the MLS within twenty (20) days of the tribunal’s decision.  Alleged violations involving unethical conduct shall be referred to the professional standards committee of the Texas Association of REALTORS® for processing in accordance with the professional standards procedures of the association.  If the charge alleges a refusal to arbitrate, such charge shall be referred directly to the board of directors of the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

Section 9.3-Complaints of Unethical Conduct: All other complaints of unethical conduct shall be referred by the President of the Board of REALTORS® for appropriate action in accordance with the professional standards procedures established in the Board’s bylaws.

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.

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.

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 11 - Ownership of MLS Compilation and Copyright

By the act of submitting any property listing content to the MLS, the Participant represents and warrants that he or she is fully has been authorized to license the property listing content as contemplated by and in compliance with this section and the 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 the listed property.  Each participant who submits listing content to the MLS agrees to defend and hold the MLS, the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®, its affiliates, 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, use, reproduction, display, or distribution of such information. M 1/19

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.

Section 11.1  All rights, title and interest in the property information submitted to the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®, and in each version of every MLS compilation created therefrom, including without limitation copyright and all other intellectual property rights, shall at all times remain vested in San Antonio Board of REALTORS®.  Participant and San Antonio Board of REALTORS® expressly agree that the compilation of all such information in San Antonio Board of REALTORS® MLS database shall be considered a “work made for hire” as defined in 17 U.S.C. 101, and San Antonio Board of REALTORS® shall be considered the author of such compilation and shall own all copyrights therein.  To the extent such compilation or any portion thereof may not be considered a “work made for hire: under applicable law, Participant assigns all right, title and interest in such compilation, including but not limited to all copyrights in the same, to  San Antonio Board of REALTORS® as of the date of creation of such compilation.

Section 11.2-Each Participant shall be entitled to lease from the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® a number of copies of each MLS compilation sufficient to provide the Participant and each subscriber 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.

Section 12 - Distribution

Use of Copyrighted MLS Compilation

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 Subscribers with such Participants shall be permitted to display the MLS compilation to prospective buyers, sellers, tenants, or landlords only in conjunction with their ordinary business activities of attempting to locate ready, willing, and able buyers/tenants for the properties described in said MLS compilation.

Section 12.2-Reproduction: Participants or their affiliated Subscribers shall not reproduce any MLS compilation or any portion thereof, except in the following limited circumstances. Participants or their affiliated Subscribers may reproduce from the MLS compilation and distribute to prospective purchasers, sellers, tenants, and landlords a reasonable number of single copies of property listing data or comparable data contained in the MLS compilation which relate to any properties in which the prospective purchasers, sellers, tenants, or landlords are or may, in the judgment of the Participant or their affiliated Subscribers, be interested.
Reproductions made in accordance with this rule shall be prepared in such a fashion that the property listing data of properties other than that in which the prospective purchaser has expressed interest, or in which the Participant or the affiliated licensees are seeking to promote interest, does not appear on such reproduction.

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 or comparables 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 Subscribers 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 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)

Section 13 - Use of MLS Information

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 San Antonio Board of REALTORS® MLS for the period (date) through (date).

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 San Antonio Board of REALTORS®.

Section 15 - Arbitration of Disputes

By becoming and remaining a Participant, each Participant agrees to arbitrate disputes involving contractual issues and questions, and specific non-contractual issues and questions defined in Standard of Practice 17-4 of the Code of Ethics with MLS Participants in different firms arising out of their relationships as MLS Participants subject to the following qualifications.

(a) If all disputants are members of the same association of REALTORS® or have their principal place of business within the same association’s territorial jurisdiction, they shall arbitrate pursuant to the procedures that association of REALTORS®.

(b) If the disputants are members of different association of REALTORS® or if their principal place of business is located within the territorial jurisdiction of different association of REALTORS®, they remain obligated to arbitrate in accordance with the procedures of the Texas Association of REALTORS®. (Amended 11/97)

Arbitration Procedures: Arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with any existing agreement or, alternatively, in accordance with the Arbitration Procedures in the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual of the National Association of REALTORS®. Nothing herein shall preclude Participants from agreeing to arbitrate the dispute before a particular association of REALTORS®.

Section 16 - Standards of Conduct for MLS Participants

Section 16.1-MLS Participants shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other MLS Participants have with clients.

Section 16.2-Signs giving notice of property for sale, rent, lease, or exchange shall not be placed on property without consent of the seller/landlord.

Section 16.3-MLS Participants acting as subagents or as buyer/tenant representatives or brokers shall not attempt to extend a listing broker’s offer of cooperation and/or compensation to other brokers without the consent of the listing broker.

Section 16.4-MLS Participants shall not solicit a listing currently listed exclusively with another broker. However, if the listing broker, when asked by the MLS Participant, refuses to disclose the expiration date and nature of such listing (i.e., an exclusive right to sell, an exclusive agency, open listing, or other form of contractual agreement between the listing broker and the client) the MLS Participant may contact the owner to secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the MLS Participant might take a future listing or, alternatively, may take a listing to become effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive listing.

Section 16.5-MLS Participants shall not solicit buyer/tenant agreements from buyers/tenants who are subject to exclusive buyer/tenant agreements. However, if asked by an MLS Participant, the broker refuses to disclose the expiration date of the exclusive buyer/tenant agreement, the MLS Participant may contact the buyer/tenant to secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the MLS Participant might enter into a future buyer/tenant agreement or, alternatively, may enter into a buyer/tenant agreement to become effective upon the expiration of any existing exclusive buyer/tenant agreement.

Section 16.6-MLS Participants shall not use information obtained from listing brokers through offers to cooperate made through multiple listing services or through other offers of cooperation to refer listing brokers’ clients to other brokers or to create buyer/tenant relationships with listing brokers’ clients, unless such use is authorized by listing brokers.

Section 16.7-The fact that an agreement has been entered into with an MLS Participant shall not preclude or inhibit any other MLS Participant from entering into a similar agreement after the expiration of the prior agreement.

Section 16.8-The fact that a prospect has retained an MLS Participant as an exclusive representative or exclusive broker in one or more past transactions does not preclude other MLS Participants from seeking such prospect’s future business.

Section 16.9-MLS Participants are free to enter into contractual relationships or to negotiate with sellers/landlords, buyers/tenants or others who are not subject to an exclusive agreement but shall not knowingly obligate them to pay more than one commission except with their informed consent.

Section 16.10-When MLS Participants are contacted by the client of another MLS Participant regarding the creation of an exclusive relationship to provide the same type of service, and MLS Participants have not directly or indirectly initiated such discussions, they may discuss the terms upon which they might enter into a future agreement or, alternatively, may enter into an agreement which becomes effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive agreement.
Section 16.11-In cooperative transactions, MLS Participants shall compensate cooperating MLS Participants (principal brokers) and shall not compensate nor offer to compensate, directly or indirectly, any of the sales licensees employed by or affiliated with other MLS Participants without the prior express knowledge and consent of the cooperating broker.

Section 16.12-MLS Participants are not precluded from making general announcements to prospects describing their services and the terms of their availability even though some recipients may have entered into agency agreements or other exclusive relationships with another MLS Participant. A general telephone canvass, general mailing, or distribution addressed to all prospects in a given geographical area or in a given profession, business, club, or organization, or other classification or group is deemed “general” for purposes of this rule.

The following types of solicitations are prohibited:

Telephone or personal solicitations of property owners who have been identified by a real estate sign, multiple listing compilation, or other information service as having exclusively listed their property with another MLS Participant; and mail or other forms of written solicitations of prospects whose properties are exclusively listed with another MLS Participant when such solicitations are not part of a general mailing but are directed specifically to property owners identified through compilations of current listings, “for sale” or “for rent” signs, or other sources of information intended to foster cooperation with MLS Participants.

Section 16.13-MLS Participants, prior to entering into a representation agreement, have an affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to determine whether the prospect is subject to a current, valid exclusive agreement to provide the same type of real estate service.

Section 16.14-MLS Participants, acting as buyer or tenant representatives or brokers, shall disclose that relationship to the seller/landlord’s representative or broker at first contact and shall provide written confirmation of that disclosure to the seller/landlord’s representative or broker not later than execution of a purchase agreement or lease.

Section 16.15-On unlisted property, MLS Participants acting as buyer/tenant representatives or brokers shall disclose that relationship to the seller/landlord at first contact for that buyer/tenant and shall provide written confirmation of such disclosure to the seller/landlord not later than execution of any purchase or lease agreement.

MLS Participants shall make any request for anticipated compensation from the seller/landlord at first contact.

Section 16.16-MLS Participants, acting as representatives or brokers of sellers/landlords or as subagents of listing brokers, shall disclose that relationship to buyers/tenants as soon as practicable, and shall provide written confirmation of such disclosure to buyers/tenants not later than execution of any purchase or lease agreement.

Section 16.17-MLS Participants are not precluded from contacting the client of another broker for the purpose of offering to provide, or entering into a contract to provide, a different type of real estate service unrelated to the type of service currently being provided (e.g., property management as opposed to brokerage) or from offering the same type of service for property not subject to others brokers’ exclusive agreements.  However, information received through a Multiple Listing Service or any other offer of cooperation may not be used to target clients of other MLS Participants to whom such offers to provide services may be made.

Section 16.18-MLS Participants, acting as subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers, shall not use the terms of an offer to purchase/lease to attempt to modify the listing broker’s offer of compensation to subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers, or make the submission of an executed offer to purchase/lease contingent on the listing broker’s agreement to modify the offer of compensation.

Section 16.19-All dealings concerning property exclusively listed or with buyer/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement shall be carried on with the client’s representative or broker, and not with the client, except with the consent of the client’s representative or broker or except where such dealings are initiated by the client.

Before providing substantive services (such as writing a purchase offer or presenting a CMA) to prospects, MLS Participants shall ask prospects whether they are a party to any exclusive representation agreement. MLS Participants shall not knowingly provide substantive services concerning a prospective transaction to prospects who are parties to exclusive representation agreements, except with the consent of the prospects’ exclusive representatives or at the direction of prospects.

Section 16.20-Participants, users, and subscribers, prior to or after terminating their relationship with their current firm, 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.

Section 16.21-These rules are not intended to prohibit ethical, albeit aggressive or innovative business practices, and do not prohibit disagreements with other MLS Participants involving commission, fees, compensation, or other forms of payment or expenses.

Section 16.22-MLS Participants shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices.

Section 16.23- Standards of Conduct for MLS Participants – MLS Participants’ firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.

Websites of licensees affiliated with a Participant’s firm shall disclose the firm’s name and the licensee’s stat(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.

Section 16.24- MLS Participants shall present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public, including Internet content posted, and the URLs and domain names they use, and Participants may not:

  1. engage in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
  2. manipulate (e.g. present content developed by others) listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result;
  3. deceptively use metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert internet traffic;
  4. present content developed by others without either attribution or without permission, or to otherwise mislead consumers. (Adopted 1/13)

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) M

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 enhancements 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.

Section 18 - Internet Data Exchange (IDX)

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. (Amended 5/17) M

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 5/12) (Amended 2017)

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.

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 5/12)

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.

Section 18.2.3 –Listings, including property addresses, can be included in IDX displays except where a seller has directed their listing brokers 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).

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 IDX must be independently made by each Participant.  (Amended 05/17)

Section 18.2.5 – Participants must refresh all MLS downloads and IDX displays automatically fed by those downloads not less frequently than every 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 5/12)

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 not smaller than the median used in the display of listing data. (Amended 11/17) M

.  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 5/12)

Section 18.2.8 –Any IDX display controlled by a participant or subscriber that

  1. 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
  2. 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 forgoing 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.

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 5/12)

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 18.2.11Participants 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. M.

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.* (Amended 05/17) M

* 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 5/17)

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.

Section 18.3.1.1 -The Type of Listing agreement (e.g., exclusive right to sell, exclusive agency, etc.) may not be displayed (Amended 5/12)

(Moved to Section 18.3.3 to 18 2.2.12 and Classified as Mandatory)
Section 18.3.4- All listings 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 5/12)

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 5/12)

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 one hundred (100) listings or five percent (5%) of the listings available for IDX display, whichever is fewer. (Amended 11/09)

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 MLS’s 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, and sold listings is prohibited (Amended 11/09)

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.

Section 18.3.14 – Deceptive or misleading advertising (including co-branding) on pages displaying IDX-provided listings is prohibited.  For purposes of these rules, co-branding will be presumed not to be deceptive or misleading if the participant’s logo and contact information is larger than that of any third party. (Adopted 11/09)

Section 18.4 Service Fees and Charges – Service fees and charges for participation in IDX shall be as established annually by the Board of Directors. (Amended 5/05)

Section 19 - Virtual Office Websites (VOW's)

Section 19.1 (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 VOWs, 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 email address for, each Registrant. The Participant must send an email 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 email 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 email 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, email address, user name, and current password of each Registrant.  The Participant must keep such records for not less than 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, email 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’s ownership of, and the validity of the MLS’s 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 use 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 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 email, 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:

Seller Opt-Out Form

  1. Please check either Option a or Option b

a.[    ] I have advised my broker or sales agent that I do not want the listed property to be displayed on the Internet.

OR

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.

  1. 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 search.

___________
initials of seller

(c) The Participant shall retain such forms for at least one year from the date they are signed, or one year from the date the listing goes off the market, whichever is greater.

Section 19.7:

(a) Subject to subsection (b), a Participant’s VOW may allow third-parties (i) to write comments or reviews about particular listings or display a hyperlink to such comments or reviews in immediate conjunction with particular listings, or (ii)

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 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, the National Association of Realtors® VOW Policy, or 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.

Note: Adoption of Sections 19.15 –19.19 is at the discretion of the MLS. However, if any of the following sections are adopted, an equivalent requirement must be imposed on Participants’ use of MLS Listing Information in providing brokerage service through all other delivery mechanisms.

Section 19.15:  A Participant’s VOW may not make available for search by, or display to, Registrants any of the following information:

a. Expired and withdrawn listings.

b. The compensation offered to other MLS Participants.

c. The type of listing agreement, i.e., exclusive right to sell or exclusive agency.

d. The seller’s and occupant’s name(s), phone number(s), or e-mail address(es).

e. Instructions or remarks intended for cooperating brokers only, such as those regarding showings or security of listed property.

f. Sold information

Section 19.16: A Participant shall not change the content of any MLS Listing Information that is displayed on a VOW from the content as it is provided in the MLS.  The Participant may, however, augment MLS Listing Information with additional information not otherwise prohibited by these Rules or by other applicable MLS rules or policies as long as the source of such other information is clearly identified. This rule does not restrict the format of display of MLS Listing Information on VOWs or the display on VOWs of fewer than all of the listings or fewer than all of the authorized information fields

Section 19.17:  A Participant shall cause to be placed on his or her VOW a notice indicating that the MLS Listing Information displayed on the VOW is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. A Participant’s VOW may include other appropriate disclaimers necessary to protect the Participant and/or the MLS from liability.

Section 19.18:  A Participant shall cause any listing that is displayed on his or her VOW to identify the name of the listing firm and the listing broker or agent in a readily visible color, in a reasonably prominent location, and in typeface not smaller than the median typeface used in the display of listing data.

Section 19.19:  A Participant shall limit the number of listings that a Registrant may view, retrieve, or download to not more than 500 current listings and not more than 500 sold listings in response to any inquiry.

Note: The number of listings that may be viewed, retrieved, or downloaded should be specified by the MLS in the context of this rule, but may not be fewer than five hundred (500) listings or fifty percent (50%) of the listings in the MLS, whichever is less. M

Section 19.20:  A Participant shall require that Registrants’ passwords be reconfirmed or changed every _120__ days.

(Note: The number of days passwords remain valid before being changed or reconfirmed must be specified by the MLS in the context of this rule and cannot be shorter than 90 days. Participants may, at their option, require Registrants to reconfirm or change passwords more frequently.)

Section 19.21:  A Participant may display advertising and the identification of other entities (“co-branding’) on any VOW the Participant operates or that is operated on his or her behalf.  However, a Participant may not display on any such VOW deceptive or misleading advertising or co-branding.  For purposes of this Section, co-branding will be presumed not to be deceptive or misleading if the Participant’s logo and contact information (or that of at least one Participant, in the case of a VOW established and operated on behalf of more than one Participant) is displayed in immediate conjunction with that of every other party, and the logo and contact information of all Participants displayed on the VOW is as large as the logo of the AVP and larger than that of any third party.

Section 19.22:  A Participant shall cause any listing displayed on his or her VOW that is obtained from other sources, including from another MLS or from a broker not participating in the MLS, to identify the source of the listing.

Section 19.23: A Participant shall cause any listing displayed on his or her VOW obtained from other sources, including from another MLS or from a broker not participating in the MLS, to be searched separately from listings in the MLS.

Section 19.24: Participants and the AVPs operating VOWs on their behalf must execute the license agreement required by the MLS.

Section 19.25: Where a seller affirmatively directs their listing broker to withhold either the seller’s listing or the address of the seller’s listing from display on the Internet, a copy of the seller’s affirmative direction shall be provided to the MLS within 48 hours.

IMS Login MLS Login Feedback