StreetEasy is once again tightening its grip on New York City listings, informing agents they must post sales listings within 24 hours — or risk losing professional access to the site.
In an email to agents on Monday, StreetEasy said it would contact those who are not advertising listings, or who are limiting or delaying listings on StreetEasy.
“It is our intent to gain confirmation from agents that all sales listings will be advertised on StreetEasy within 24 hours of becoming available,” said the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Real Deal. “If agents do not respond, we may revoke their access to Agent Tools and potentially other StreetEasy programs until the issue is resolved.”
Sent by Stephanie Schonholz, StreetEasy’s director of industry relations, the letter acknowledged that “agents have a choice in where they post their listings and by no means are obligated to post with us.”
But when they do, they must adhere to a certain standard. “Ensuring customers have a full, timely picture of what’s on the market on our platform is a crucial piece of that puzzle.”
The letter elicited immediate criticism from the city’s residential brokers, who viewed it as StreetEasy’s latest attempt to wrest control over listings.
Since the start of the year, StreetEasy has required agents to manually input listings instead of accepting direct data feeds from brokerage firms. Some have called the policy a form of blackmail that will make it easier for StreetEasy to tack on additional fees for agents. Currently, agents are charged $6 per day to post each of their rental listings.
In a memo to agents, Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freedman called StreetEasy’s “strong-arm tactics reprehensible.”
“StreetEasy claims that they are implementing these new rules under the guise of data integrity,” she wrote. “But there is no integrity in demanding that you advertise your listings with them — the properties you work hard to secure — just to satisfy their sudden timeline requirements.”
A spokesperson for Streeteasy disputed that reading, characterizing the 24-hour rule as part of the portal’s ongoing attempt to ensure high-quality listings information.
“New Yorkers trust StreetEasy to help them find their next home, and they deserve access to the most accurate and up-to-date listings available,” the spokesperson said. “It’s why we have policies in place to hold ourselves – and all of our partners – to the highest data standards.”
The move comes amid a resurgent effort to unseat the Zillow-owned portal as New York City’s de facto multiple listing service.
Last week, the Real Estate Board of New York, which has been cracking down on bad listings data, said it would start fining agents up to $20,000 for inaccurate or unlawful listings.
REBNY’s universal co-brokerage agreement, which governs how agents share listings, requires agents to share listing data immediately with other members as soon as the listing goes live on any site. Agents also are not allowed to promote off-market listings, known as pocket listings. (If a seller specifically asks for a property to be sold off-market, the agent must file a disclosure with REBNY within 48 hours.)
The National Association of Realtors has also banned pocket listings, which StreetEasy’s new 24-hour rule would seem to address. But the move also comes amid a resurgent effort to unseat the Zillow-owned portal as New York City’s de facto multiple listing service.
In June, Realtor groups in Westchester and Long Island launched a consumer-facing MLS. OneKeyMLS has 40,000 listings obtained directly from brokerage firms — now a key distinction from StreetEasy.
Some of the city’s residential firms have also taken to advertising “coming soon” listings on social media or their own websites, before posting them to StreetEasy.
While most firms begrudgingly migrated toward StreetEasy’s manual entry, Douglas Elliman got into a dispute this spring with the portal over the policy. At that time, StreetEasy threatened to yank Douglas Elliman’s rental listings. The two sides ultimately buried the hatchet, but only after Elliman’s leaders agreed to manual entry for agents.