National Association of Realtors moves to block antitrust probe

Trade group petitions court to kill DOJ subpoena after settlement agreement collapsed in July

National /
Sep.September 14, 2021 10:10 AM
National Association of Realtors moves to block antitrust probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland, NAR President Charlie Oppler (Justice.gov, NAR)

The National Association of Realtors is biting back at the Justice Department, aiming to block an antitrust probe into the trade group months after a settlement between the parties collapsed.

NAR filed a petition in federal court Monday to block a DOJ subpoena issued in July, shortly after the DOJ withdrew from its proposed settlement with NAR and signaled a “broader investigation” into the trade group’s alleged anti-competitive practices.

The association said it was asking for the probe to be blocked on the grounds that the DOJ violated the settlement and broke the law, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Justice Department has claimed that it’s within its right to withdraw from the settlement, which it said was too narrow in focus to satisfy its concerns over NAR policies.

The abandoned settlement stemmed from a civil complaint filed by the DOJ against NAR in November. It would have required the association to repeal and modify some “anti-competitive” practices, including withholding information about broker fees and or enabling buyers’ brokers to filter MLS listings for commissions.

In July, however, the DOJ withdrew its consent from the eight-month old agreement and filed to dismiss its complaint without prejudice.

The DOJ claimed the original proposed settlement would’ve blocked it from pursuing more antitrust claims regarding NAR, although the agreement did include a clause that specifically reserved the government’s rights to investigate and pursue further antitrust violations by NAR or its members.

The proposed settlement came during the Trump administration, but President Biden has been turning up the heat on the real estate industry, pushing the Federal Trade Commission to look into competitive issues in the industry as well.

Some issues the DOJ is looking into include concerns over practices that effectively create a closed marketplace for buying and selling homes, leading to higher fees and preventing competitors from offering lower costs.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Alex Rodriguez and Constantine Scurtis of Lynd (Getty)
    A-Rod hits home run on 13 suits by ex-brother-in-law over real estate empire
    A-Rod hits home run on 13 suits by ex-brother-in-law over real estate empire
    Quay Tower at 50 Bridge Park Drive and 90 Furman Street (StreetEasy, Compass)
    Brooklyn Heights condo tops luxury contracts at $2.6K per square foot
    Brooklyn Heights condo tops luxury contracts at $2.6K per square foot
    First-time buyers in New York City have prime options in 4 out of the city’s 5 boroughs, according to a report from StreetEasy (iStock)
    Sheepshead Bay tops ranking of best NYC neighborhoods for first-time buyers
    Sheepshead Bay tops ranking of best NYC neighborhoods for first-time buyers
    Manhattan luxury market rebounds from late-summer slump with 31 condo sales
    Manhattan luxury market rebounds from late-summer slump with 38 sales
    Manhattan luxury market rebounds from late-summer slump with 38 sales
    The Kalikow Group President & CEO Edward Kalikow with the complex (Kalikow, Kaled)
    In hot rental market, LI developer sells another South Carolina complex
    In hot rental market, LI developer sells another South Carolina complex
    Shelter Island and Town Supervisor Gerry Siller (iStock, Town of Shelter Island)
    Shelter Island prices squeezing out affordable housing
    Shelter Island prices squeezing out affordable housing
    Wells Fargo hit with $400M suit for breach of contract linked to robo-signing scandal
    Wells Fargo hit with $400M suit for breach of contract linked to robo-signing scandal
    Wells Fargo hit with $400M suit for breach of contract linked to robo-signing scandal
    The slowing of the housing market has squeezed the profit margins of house-flipping investors. (iStock)
    Profit margins on fixer-uppers fall to 10-year low
    Profit margins on fixer-uppers fall to 10-year low
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...