The MLS Rules exist to protect your rights as a real estate professional and to protect the accuracy of MLS data. Receiving a citation for an MLS Rules violation is never fun. A citation can cost you money, and potentially hurt your standing with your association/board. Most rules violations are unintentional and can be easily avoided. Follow these tips to steer clear of the most common violations!
1. Exterior Photo Required – MLS Rule 11.5
Description of Violation: Within five (5) calendar days of entry, listings input into the MLS are required to have at least one photograph accurately depicting a substantial portion of the exterior of the property.
How to avoid the violation: To help avoid this violation, you must add at least one photo or rendering of the exterior structure of the listed property within five calendar days of entering a listing into the MLS, regardless of the listing status. If a property is sold within five calendar days of entering the listing into the MLS, it is important that you add at least one exterior structural photo prior to closing the listing.
This photo requirement does not apply to (1) Business opportunity listings, or, (2) listings that are Canceled within five calendar days of entry.
2. Branded Photos/Media and Copyright Issues – MLS Rule 11.5
Description of Violation: Photos, virtual tours and any media submitted to the MLS must not contain any branding or promotional information related to the listing broker or agent. The listing broker must also possess the proper authorization to use media obtained from third parties.
How to avoid the violation: Photos and media uploaded onto the MLS must not contain any of the items below.
- Agent, Broker, or Brokerage names or photos or logos
- Phone Numbers
- Website addresses
- Email Addresses
- For sale or for lease signs, billboards, open house signs, promotion signs, or any other advertising material with identifiable information
- Messages or solicitations
- People that are not incidental and/or are identifiable
- Example: A scene that features people whom can be identified or a photograph of only a person.
- Photographs of children will be pulled immediately by CRMLS Staff.
- Animals with no relation to the property being listed
- Example: A photograph of only a horse, dog, chicken, etc.)
- Items not directly related to the listing
Copyright and use of media from third parties:
If Photographs and media are obtained from third parties, such as photographers, the submitting agent and broker must ensure that they have obtained the proper authorization to use the media before submitting to the MLS.
Note that CRMLS reserves the right to remove any media found in violation or inappropriate.
Consequently, if a photograph is removed for violation of copyright or branding Rules, and that photograph is the only photograph that fulfills the requirements of Rule 11.5.1, an additional citation may be issued on that basis if the issue is not timely corrected. Refer to section 1 for more details regarding this violation.
3. Late Entry of Listing & Exclusion – MLS Rule 7.8
Description of Violation: This violation occurs when a listing is not entered into the MLS in a timely manner and the listing broker did not file an MLS Exclusion Form with the MLS
How to avoid the violation: To help avoid this violation, you must enter a listing into the MLS within two business days of the effective date of the listing, which is defined as either: (1) the initial date of the listing period, or, (2) the date the seller’s signature was obtained on the listing agreement, whichever is later.
If the seller wants their property listed on the MLS, but the property is not ready for marketing or showings, it is recommended that the listing agent utilize the CRMLS Exclusion form. The seller has the option of utilizing the CRMLS Exclusion form to delay the marketing of the property, so that the time where no marketing occurs will not be included as Days on Market when later entered in the MLS. Please see the detailed instructions at https://kb.crmls.org/knowledgebase/how-to-exclude-a-listing-from-the-mls/.
4. Misuse of Public Remarks – MLS Rule 12.5
Description of Violation: A Misuse of Public Remarks violation occurs when prohibited information or verbiage is placed in any public remarks field.
How to Avoid the violation: To help avoid a Misuse of Public Remarks violation, it is important that the remarks in the Property Description field are limited to the physical and aesthetic characteristics of the property.
The Property Description and other public facing fields may not include:
- Gate codes
- Showing Instructions
- Compensation Information
- Lockbox information
- Occupancy status of the property such as “vacant”
- Email addresses
- Website addresses
- Phone numbers
- Agent or brokerage information
- Open house information
- Language that violates applicable fair housing laws and guidelines
CRMLS reserves the right to remove any remarks within any field that are found to be inappropriate.
5. Inaccurate Information – MLS Rule 8.3
Description of Violation: All fields within the MLS are to disclose accurate information to the best of the listing agent’s and listing broker’s knowledge.
Auto Sold Violations
An Auto Sold violation occurs when a listing is automatically changed to Sold status by the MLS system (appears as), which is a result of not manually updating a listing in Pending/Active Under Contract status. An Auto Sold listing is considered an Inaccurate Information violation, because the listing is Closed and displays estimated and unconfirmed sales information.
How to avoid the violation: Make all necessary changes to the listing within two (2) business days of being advised of an inaccuracy and watch for the multiple email and pop-up reminders that the MLS sends you regarding any upcoming status change deadlines.
To help avoid an Auto Sold violation, you must properly and manually manage your listings in the Pending/Active Under Contract status. When a listing is changed to the Pending/Active Under Contract status, you are required to enter an estimated close of escrow date (“Estimated COE date”), as well as estimated sales information. Within two (2) business days of your Estimated COE date, you must either (1) extend your Estimated COE date if escrow has been delayed, (2) update your listing to the appropriate status if a status change occurred, or (3) confirm the sales information and manually update the listing to Sold.
Courtesy notices are sent via Matrix pop-up and email 14 days prior to, 7 days prior to, 1 day prior to, and on the day of your Estimated COE Date, as reminders to manually update your listing.