The Real Deal New York

REBNY tightens rules for listing syndication

Agents not in compliance will be fined starting March 2019
By E.B. Solomont | November 29, 2018 05:45PM

From left: Michael Bisordi, John Banks, and Diane Ramirez (Credit: Getty Images)

After being accused by brokerage chiefs of not doing enough to enforce its own rules, the Real Estate Board of New York is rolling out new data-sharing procedures and will fine violators starting next year.

In an email to residential members on Thursday, REBNY said the new procedures are designed to “improve the speed and accuracy of listing data” and provide “an efficient way to manage listings and handle complaints.” The email, a copy of which was obtained by The Real Deal, was signed by Halstead CEO Diane Ramirez and Michael Bisordi, founder of Tungsten Partners, who are co-chairs of REBNY’s residential board of directors.

Although somewhat short on detail, the email announced revisions to the universal co-brokerage agreement (UCBA), the document that governs how listings are shared.

It also disclosed a new listings management tool for members of the residential listings service (RLS), so that agents can view, but not edit, their listings. (Previously, listings only appeared on the RLS’ back-end.)

And finally, the email confirmed REBNY will implement a new compliance monitoring system to ensure agents provide accurate and complete listings information.

For the first time, the email said, agents have mandatory fields to fill out; any listing that is incomplete will be rejected. Listings also must comply with fair housing rules and cannot contain the agent’s personal contact information; if an agent violates the rule, they will be fined.

The rules are set to take effect next month, but Ramirez and Bisordi said there will be a “grace period” and that agents would only be fined starting in March 2019. The email did not disclose how much agents will be charged but said that information would be released in the coming weeks.

Sources said the changes reflect REBNY’s attempt to syndicate clean data through the RLS. But the compliance program, in particular, also addresses concerns by some members that REBNY wasn’t doing enough to enforce industry rules.

Tempers flared at a meeting last month between brokerage chiefs and REBNY President John Banks. Douglas Elliman chief Howard Lorber reportedly stormed out of the meeting. Later, he accused REBNY of focusing too heavily on commercial members at the expense of residential firms, a claim that Banks rejected.