Pushback over going “clear”: NAR sued for pocket listing ban

Real estate association’s Clear Cooperation Policy, particularly attractive for celebrity home sellers, took effect this month

CAP: NAR President Vince Malta and TAN founder David Faudman (Credit: YouTube, NAR, iStock)
CAP: NAR President Vince Malta and TAN founder David Faudman (Credit: YouTube, NAR, iStock)

The National Association of Realtors is facing a lawsuit for effectively barring its members from taking off-market listings, often called pocket listings.

The suit was filed by Top Agent Network, a networking and communication platform open to agents that meet a certain criteria, according to the Wall Street Journal. NAR’s open listings policy went into effect on May 1.

Top Agent Network filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It names NAR — the nation’s most powerful real estate trade organization — as a defendant, along with its California subsidiary, and its San Francisco subsidiary specifically.

NAR’s board approved its controversial “Clear Cooperation Policy” late last year. The policy requires brokers to submit a listing to a multiple listing service within a business day of marketing a property to the public.

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Much of the backlash to NAR’s policy came from agents who take on pocket listings and increasing number of private listings platforms that depend on them.

Pocket listings are most popular at the highest end of the residential market — including San Francisco and Los Angeles — and especially attractive for celebrity clients who want to maintain their privacy.

NAR and its affiliates operate many of the MLS platforms across the country and supporters of the rule have argued that the Clear Cooperation Policy will help MLS platforms compete with private listing platforms.

Top Agent Network founder David Faudman said that the rule could “destroy” his business and said the NAR is “trying to eliminate competition” with the rule. [WSJ] — Dennis Lynch