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Should MLSs force agent membership? NAR policy up for review

05/05/2017

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Real estate broker-owner Jim Weix received an unexpected letter a year ago from his multiple listing service: If he did not pay subscriber fees for 12 of his 27 agents by August 1, 2016, his firm’s MLS service would be suspended. MLS services are not free, and no MLS is obligated to provide its services to anyone who fails to pay the subscriber fees. But what if agents don’t want the service at all? Should they be forced to pay anyway? That question will go before a National Association of Realtors (NAR) MLS committee at the 1.2 million-member trade group’s midyear conference this month. At issue will be an NAR MLS policy that allows Realtor-affiliated MLSs to require that all of the licensed salespersons affiliated with a broker’s office subscribe to the MLS — if a broker is a member of the MLS and the physical location of that broker’s office lies within the boundaries of the MLS’s territorial jurisdiction. MLSs’ territorial jurisdictions are not fixed, unlike the juri…

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