NAR Files Court Response to DOJ Agreement Dispute


In Sept., NAR filed a petition asking the Dept. of Justice to change or drop its opposition to an agreement announced earlier. On Fri., it reacted to DOJ’s response.

WASHINGTON – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) continue to disagree over the terms of a settlement that appeared finalized until DOJ backed out.

In September, NAR filed a petition seeking DOJ’s response. On Monday, NAR filed a “Response to the Government’s Opposition to NAR’s Petition.” Inman News posted a copy of NAR’s response on its website.

At the heart of the DOJ-NAR dispute is a settlement agreement over various multiple listing service (MLS) policies, which DOJ approved in November 2020. DOJ later announced that it was backing out of that agreement. In response, NAR called the department’s attempt to withdraw – after NAR had begun to implement the terms – “a breach of the agreement and the law.”

“The DOJ action should be considered null and invalid based on legal precedent alone,” NAR President Charlie Oppler said when submitting September’s petition. “The DOJ must be governed by principle, and NAR simply expects the department to live up to its commitments.”

Oppler said NAR remained committed to “advancing and defending independent and local real estate organizations that provide for greater economic opportunity and equity for small businesses and consumers of all backgrounds and financial means.”

The response submitted Monday rebuts many points made by DOJ and includes previous court cases that NAR says back up its case.

NAR creates “Competition in real estate” web tools

A webpage from NAR, called “Competition in real estate,” focuses on the way the current MLS system encourages competition and serves consumers.

“Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) are independent broker marketplaces that focus exclusively on residential real estate in local real estate markets,” the webpage explains. “Access to inventory and free advertising, as well as the practice of the listing broker paying the buyer brokers’ commission, incentivizes participation in these local real estate marketplaces and creates the largest, most accessible and most accurate source of housing information available to consumers. That levels the playing field among brokerages, allowing small brokerages to compete with large ones, and provides for unprecedented competition among brokers, including different service and pricing models.”

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