10/22/2012 - RPR - REALTOR® Property Resource

RPR (REALTOR® Property Resource)

The board of directors of the Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc. (“BAREIS”) has concluded that BAREIS is legally precluded from participating in the REALTOR® Property Resource product (“RPR”) sponsored by the National Association of REALTORS®  (“NAR”), for the following reasons:

NAR prevents access to the RPR product by BAREIS members who do not belong to NAR even if these non-NAR members have participated in building the database of the BAREIS multiple listing service (the “BAREIS MLS®”).  Non-NAR BAREIS members have as much right to the data contained in the BAREIS MLS® as any NAR member of BAREIS.  BAREIS appealed to NAR to change its policy so as to allow all BAREIS members to access RPR, but the appeal was denied.

BAREIS is considered the successor to the multiple listing service previously operated by the Marin Association of Realtors® (“MAR”), among others.  In the 1976 California Supreme Court decision, Marin County Board of Realtors, Inc.[1] v. Eugene Palsson, (“Palsson”)[2] the Court held that “[w]hile the Marin County Board of Realtors may permissibly provide some exclusive benefits to its members, access to the multiple listing service is so essential to non-members if they are to compete effectively that such access must be granted to all licensed salesmen and brokers who choose to use the service.”[3]  This is the law of the State of California (at least with respect to similar fact patterns) and therefore multiple listing services operating in California are likely required to provide access to their databases to any California real estate licensee on the same terms and conditions as to any other California licensee.[4]  By law BAREIS must provide the same rights, duties, obligations and privileges to BAREIS members who are not members of one or more associations of REALTORS® as to BAREIS members who are also members of such associations.

Likewise, BAREIS cannot allow NAR members that do not subscribe to the BAREIS MLS® (or to one of the multiple listing services that BAREIS has reciprocal agreements with) to access the BAREIS MLS® data through the RPR product.

In addition, BAREIS is troubled by NAR’s unclear explanation of the use of the BAREIS data for derivative products created by the vendor providing the RPR under its license agreements with entities outside of NAR.

When BAREIS signed on to use the Realist 2 product, it signed a non-exclusive agreement to allow BAREIS to provide the RPR product at some point in the future.  Because of Palsson, BAREIS has no choice but to decline participation at this time, unless NAR changes the policy of excluding BAREIS members that do not belong to NAR.   BAREIS has a similar service through the Realist public records product, which is available to all BAREIS MLS® members.

[1] Now called the Marin Association of Realtors®.

[2] 16 Cal. 3d 920.

[3] 16 Cal. 3d at 938.

[4] Upon remand, the Marin Board of Realtors® was permanently enjoined from adopting any rule or bylaw in violation of Palsson, among a wide variety of other activities.


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