Competition ruling ignites industry reaction

by Olivia D'Orazio04 May 2015
The real estate industry is cheering a new decision from the Competition Bureau that will block private sellers from listing their contact information on the MLS.
The Bureau’s decision – which you can read here – found that the rules and guidelines set by the Canadian Real Estate Association were fair in the limitations placed on the use of the MLS system.

Specifically, the Bureau upheld the association’s decision to prevent private sellers from listing their contact information on the agent-funded MLS.
Instead, the brokerage facilitating the sale must create a landing page with the seller’s information that links from the MLS.
“The sellers’ contact information should still be private, because the company they’re using to put [the listing] out as for-sale-by-owner should do their part as a filtration system,” says Justin Kua, one of many sales reps welcoming the decision.

“It allows the seller to qualify or stream who they want to give their information to. It’s not in anyone's best interest to have their cell phone number out there right away.”
This decision is a small win for the real estate community, which is still awaiting the outcome of another case focused on sold data.

The Toronto Real Estate Board has been before various courts and tribunals since 2011 in an effort to keep the information private. But a pivotal hearing before a Competition tribunal is scheduled for September 21.
Even now, that case has divided the industry, with some agents supporting TREB’s desire to keep sold data protected, while others want to widen access, arguing sold data is but a small fraction of the value-add sales reps offer.

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