Realtors Group Dodges More Antitrust Claims

The National Association of Realtors scored a tentative win in a San Francisco federal court against an antitrust challenge to its policy requiring brokers to list properties on its databases within a day of marketing the “pocket listings” elsewhere, reported Bloomberg Law. 

Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed the lawsuit from the US District Court for the Northern District of California, saying it “does not adequately explain why” the “clear cooperation policy” would affect competition in the home listings market or harm rivals like Top Agent Network, which brought the case.

Last November the Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors (NAR) alleging that NAR established and enforced illegal restraints on the ways that Realtors compete.

The Antitrust Division simultaneously filed a proposed settlement that requires NAR to repeal and modify its rules to provide greater transparency to home buyers about the commissions of brokers representing home buyers (buyer brokers), cease misrepresenting that buyer broker services are free, eliminate rules that prohibit filtering multiple listing services (MLS) listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions, and change its rules and policy which limit access to lockboxes to only NAR-affiliated real estate brokers. If approved, the settlement will enhance competition in the real estate market, resulting in more choice and better service for consumers.

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