Use of Copyrighted MLS Compilation
Section 12 – Distribution:
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 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 an estimate of value on a particular property for a particular client. However, only such information that SABOR Multiple Listing Service has deemed to be non confidential and necessary to support the estimate of value may be reproduced and attached to the report as supporting documentation. Any other use of such information is unauthorized and prohibited by these rules and regulations.
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.
- If all disputants are members of the same Board of REALTORS® or have their principal place of business within the same Board’s territorial jurisdiction, they shall arbitrate pursuant to the procedures that Board of REALTORS®.
- If the disputants are members of different Boards of REALTORS® or if their principal place of business is located within the territorial jurisdiction of different Boards of REALTORS®, they remain obligated to arbitrate in accordance with the procedures of the Texas Association of REALTORS®.Interboard Arbitration Procedures: Arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with any existing interboard agreement or, alternatively, in accordance with the Interboard 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 Board/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 prospect’s 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:
- engage in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
- manipulate (e.g. present content developed by others) listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result;
- deceptively use metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert internet traffic;
- 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 affiliated with an MLS Participant who has access to and use of MLS-generated information shallcomplete a training program of no more than eight (8) classroom hours devoted to computer training related to MLS information entry and retrieval and the operation of the MLS within thirty days after access has been provided.
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 subscribes with system changes or enhancement and/or changes to MLS rules or policies. Participants and subscribers must be given the opportunity to complete any mandated additional training remotely.
Section 18 – Internet Data Exchange (IDX):
IDX affords MLS Participants the ability to authorize limited electronic display of their listings by other participants. (Amended 5/12)
- 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. (Amended 5/12)
- 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). (Amended 5/12)
- Section 18.2.4: Participants may select the listings they choose to display on their IDX sites 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 on any IDX site must be independently made by each Participant. (Amended 11/06)
- Section 18.2.5: Participants must refresh all MLS downloads and IDX displays automatically fed by those downloads at least once every three (3) days. (Amended 5/12)
- 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. 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
- 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
- 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: Display of IDX Information by Real Estate Franchise Organizations.
(Deleted November, 2011)
- 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 188.8.131.52: The Type of Listing agreement (e.g., exclusive right to sell, exclusive agency, etc.) may not be displayed (Amended 5/12)
- Section 18.3.2: Participants shall not modify or manipulate information relating to other Participants’ listings. (This is not a limitation on site design but refers to changes to actual listing data.) MLS data may be augmented with additional data not otherwise prohibited from display so long as the source of the additional data is clearly identified. This requirement does not restrict the format of MLS data display or display of fewer than all of the available listings or fewer authorized data fields.
- Section 18.3.3: 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. 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 18.3.4: 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 requirementbut 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 must be displayed separately from listings obtained from other sources, including information provided by other MLS’s. 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.
- Section 18.3.12: Display of expired, withdrawn, pending, 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 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.
- 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.
- “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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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”).
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- That the Registrant acknowledges entering into a lawful consumer-broker relationship with the Participant;
- That all information obtained by the Registrant from the VOW is intended only for the Registrant’s personal, non-commercial use;
- 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;
- 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;
- That the Registrant acknowledges the MLS’s ownership of, and the validity of the MLS’s copyright in, the MLS database.
- 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:
- 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 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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: ___________
- 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
- Subject to subsection (b), a Participant’s VOW may allow third-parties
- to write comments or reviews about particular listings or display a hyperlink to such comments or reviews in immediate conjunction with particular listings, or
- display an automated estimate of the market value of the listing (or hyperlink to such estimate) in immediate conjunction with the listing
- Subject to subsection (b), a Participant’s VOW may allow third-parties
- 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 19.12: 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:
- Expired, withdrawn, or pending (“under contract”) listings.
- The compensation offered to other MLS Participants.
- The type of listing agreement, i.e., exclusive right to sell or exclusive agency.
- The seller’s and occupant’s name(s), phone number(s), or e-mail address(es).
- Instructions or remarks intended for cooperating brokers only, such as those regarding showings or security of listed property.
- 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 500100 current listings and not more than 100 sold listings in response to any inquiry.
- 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.