NAR-DOJ: Final Settlement Details
On May 27, 2008, NAR and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a favorable settlement, concluding a two-year DOJ investigation (followed by two and a half years of litigation) regarding NAR's multiple listing policy as it pertained to the display of listings from the MLS on brokers' virtual office Web sites, or VOWs.
Final Judgment Approved - DOJ-NAR (PDF: 743KB)
Final Settlement Details
Important changes to the NAR MLS policies and model rules require action by all MLSs no later than February 15, 2009. The actions by MLSs described below are required by the settlement of U.S. v. NAR, the case brought by the Department of Justice challenging NAR’s previous VOW policy. The required actions include MLSs repeal of rules adopted, if any, implementing the VOW or ILD policies. REALTOR® Association and MLS Executives are asked to carefully review and take action utilizing the following documents.
Cover Letter - Notice of Actions Required by Association Executives and MLSs (PDF: 23KB)
2008 Virtual Office Website Policy (PDF: 109KB)
Model VOW Rules for MLSs (Microsoft Word: 45KB)
Amendment to Section 3 or 4 of Model Bylaws (PDF: 64KB)
Certification Form - Note: Form must be signed (PDF: 86KB)
Frequently Asked Questions (PDF: 177KB)
Sample VOW License for MLSs (PDF: 2.15KB)
Other DOJ Updates From NAR
Model Letter for MLSs to Enforce New Membership Requirement
NAR has created a letter that MLSs can use when contacting participants who may not meet the requirements of the new rule. Read more >
NAR General Counsel Laurie Janik gave a presentation on Virtual Office Web sites (VOWs) at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando on November 8, 2008. Watch the video (run time 25:22).
The July 8, 2008 NAR President's Podcast features Vicki Cox Golder, 2008 NAR First Vice President, and Laurie Janik, NAR General Counsel, discussing NAR's settlement of the antitrust lawsuit brought by the DOJ. Watch the video, and please note an important update. Multiple listing Services have 90 days - not 180 days, as stated in the video - to adopt the revised VOW policy.
In a June 16 webcast, NAR General Counsel Laurie Janik provided an overview of NAR's settlement of the antitrust lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. Access the webcast presentation (412K).
What the Settlement Accomplishes
The terms of the agreement (PDF: 743KB) are a win for NAR, REALTORS®, and consumers, and confirm that MLS members must be actively engaged in real estate brokerage by actually helping people buy or sell homes.
This will ensure that MLSs are used for what they were originally intended to do — to help real estate professionals find buyers for people who want to sell their homes. NAR has also agreed to adopt a revised 2008 Virtual Office Website policy (PDF: 109KB) that NAR will request MLSs to adopt.
NAR settled with the DOJ without financial penalty or admission of guilt.