Panel rejects TREB call for closed hearing

TREB’s request was turned down by Tribunal chair Justice Sandra Simpson in consideration of the objections from lawyers for the Competition Commissioner and reporters covering the hearing.

However, Simpson said that MLS data for specific property listings will be removed before being entered into the public record.

The data to be edited include names of homeowners, mortgage and commission information as well as virtual tour pictures of the home interiors – information which Realtors often give out to their clients anyway.

The hearing, which resumes today, is officially meant to determine whether TREB has engaged in anti-competitive practices in its use of the MLS system. The case has raised the same issue across the country, with real estate boards under pressure to lower the drawbridge around that listing service and allow sellers more unfettered and direct access to the kind of seller information

Simpson will have bowdlerized from the hearing transcripts.

TREB maintains it was worried about possible privacy violations might occur if certain sensitive MLS data is released.

However, others are concerned that TREB wants to maintain control over the MLS solely as a way of neutralizing the growing threat of so-called Virtual Office Websites, which offer cheaper services to homebuyers.

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