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  • Matthew McCabe

Department of Justice Files Antitrust Case Against National Association of Realtors®

On Thursday, November 19, 2020 the Department of Justice initiated a civil lawsuit against the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) alleging that established and enforced illegal restraints on the ways that REALTORS® compete.

NAR is a trade association of more than 1.4 million member REALTORS®.

The Department of Justice and NAR reached a proposed settlement that requires a number of changes to NAR's rules and polices. These changes could potentially make significant changes to the practices of nearly 1,400 local real estate associations organized as multiple listing services (MLS).

According to Department of Justice website,

"NAR's anticompetitive rule, rules, policies, and practices include: (i) prohibiting MLSs that are affiliated with NAR from disclosing to prospective buyers the commission that the buyer broker will earn; (ii) allowing buyer brokers to misrepresent to buyers that a buyer broker’s services are free; (iii) enabling buyer brokers to filter MLS listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions offered; and (iv) limiting access to the lockboxes that provide licensed brokers with access to homes for sale to brokers who work for a NAR-affiliated MLS. These NAR rules, policies, practices have been widely adopted by NAR-affiliated MLSs resulting in decreased competition among real estate brokers."

The Department of Justice suggests that this settlement, if approved, will "enhance competition in the real estate market, resulting in more choice and better service for consumers."

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