The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Board of Directors approved MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation policy, at its meeting. The policy requires listing brokers who are participants in a multiple listing service to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public.

NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board proposed the policy as a way to address the growing use of off-MLS listings. The advisory board concluded that leaving listings outside of the broader marketplace excludes consumers, undermining Realtors’ commitment to provide equal opportunity to all.

The policy doesn’t prohibit brokers from taking office-exclusive listings, nor does it impede brokers’ ability to meet their clients’ privacy needs. MLSs have until May 1 to adopt the policy.

The full text of MLS Statement 8.0 reads:

“Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays, digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.”

As one can imagine, this rule will come as a shock for certain markets. While the intent behind this change is honorable, there will be growing pains for markets around the country that utilize pocket listings or feel it is actually in their client’s best interest to market in a manner inconsistent with this ruling.

Local MLS providers will have some discretion on how to enforce and manage this new rule in an effort to find the balance between supporting differing business practices within the industry and ensuring our clients are being represented professionally and fairly.

The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors urges you to contact your Realtor to learn more about this new rule.

— Thomas Schultheis is with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, and can be reached at 805.729.2802 or