MLS4owners.com, the Washington real estate brokerage based in University Place, successfully challenged the proposed antitrust settlement in United States v. National Association of Realtors. On October 23, 2008 the Department of Justice filed its response to public comments in US v. NAR and affirmed the central point in MLS4owners.com‘s objection to the proposed settlement.
The Department of Justice entered into the case about Internet display of real estate listings “to enjoin the defendant a national association of real estate brokers–from maintaining or enforcing policies that restrain competition from brokers who use the Internet to more efficiently and cost effectively serve home sellers and buyers, and from adopting other related anticompetitive rules.” After the proposed settlement was announced in May, MLS4owners.com had objected to NAR’s public statements claiming broad validation of its Internet policies. MLS4owners.com‘s comments led DOJ to affirm that they were accepting NAR’s improved rules in only a narrowly limited area and that “The United States takes no position as to the permissibility under the antitrust laws” of other NAR policies.
According to its President Chris Nye, “When it comes to freedom of choice in real estate, MLS4owners.com is an advocate for consumers. DOJ’s statement to the judge will help ensure that homeowners continue to have viable options when they choose what type of real estate brokerage to use when marketing their homes.”
A detailed explanation of the case and links to documents are available here.