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Class Action Lawsuit: Home Sellers Claim Antitrust Laws Violated

NAR, Realogy, RE/MAX, Keller Williams and HomeServices of America hit with class-action lawsuit

A new lawsuit claims the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) and four major real estate franchisors violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to require home sellers to pay the broker representing the buyer of their homes and to pay an inflated amount.

Plaintiffs have filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois claiming that defendants NAR, Realogy, RE/MAX, Keller Williams and HomeServices of America have conspired together around NAR’s adoption and implementation of a rule that requires all brokers to make a blanket, non-negotiable offer of buyer-broker compensation when listing a property on an MLS.

Real estate consultant and blogger Rob Hahn wrote a two-part analysis (Part 1 and Part 2)  of the case in which he says, “The basic claim is that the MLS rule of unilateral offer of compensation is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. From the complaint: Defendants’ conspiracy has centered around NAR’s adoption and implementation of a rule that requires all brokers to make a blanket, non-negotiable offer of buyer broker compensation (the “Buyer Broker Commission Rule”) when listing a property on a Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”).

 

“This practice has been litigated and settled many times in the past, once more some parties (no doubt backed by plaintiff bar attorney funding) have decided to challenge the practice where listing brokers agree to publish what they will pay to another broker working with a buyer for bringing that buyer to purchase their home.”

-Steve Murray,  president of REAL Trends