Real Estate Weekly
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Opinion Views

New compliance regulations are good for business & consumers

We recently announced a new Clean Data initiative that will reinforce the Real Estate Board of New York’s Residential Listing Service (RLS) as the trusted source of data for both real estate agents and consumers.

From the consumer’s point of view, the search for a new home is daunting enough; no one should have to waste a moment considering a listing that has inaccurate information.

For agents who want to do more business, our strengthened culture of compliance will ensure that every residential listing is treated responsibly. We listened to our members and worked very hard to develop new compliance tools and regulations over the past 12 months.

Members want consistently clean data, and we committed to working with them every step of the way. To us, the RLS is for the industry by the industry.

Here are some of the important changes:

First, the new RLS compliance system rejects incomplete listing information. All agents entering listings must include RLS mandatory fields, which are not only New York City-centric but also aligned with national standards.

This effort is about empowering industry best practices and transparency. Consumers want and need complete information whether they are renting or buying. With the new compliance tool, listings that do not meet all mandatory requirements won’t be accepted by the RLS. The agent will immediately receive a notification to fix and resubmit the listing. These violations do not lead to any fines.

Second, the tool also checks that every listing complies with federal, state, and local laws like the Fair Housing Act, which prevents discriminatory information on residential listings. This protects both the agent and the consumer.

We want to ensure that all housing is accessible to all New Yorkers. Agents who post listings that do not comply with federal, state, and local fair housing laws will face fines. If not corrected within two days, agents face additional fines and suspension from using the RLS.

Third, personal contact information is not allowed in the listing description. Agents will be notified of such violations and expected to correct them within three days in order to avoid fines.
This is critical to ensure there is no redundancy (agent’s information is already included in the mandatory fields) and that the listing description is preserved as the place for deeper information about a listing.

Fourth, all RLS users are now able to see their own listings via the Listing Management Tool. This is a validation method to ensure listings are properly displayed on the RLS and in front of over thirteen thousand agents who co-broke through the RLS. Principals and authorized personnel may also view their firm’s listings.

Moreover, we have made changes to the Universal Co-Brokerage Agreement (UCBA) to reflect this comprehensive effort. The compliance policy is now part of the UCBA and fully aligned with regulations across the board. This is a massive effort and we are proud to lead it.

REBNY’s Residential Brokerage Board of Directors and RLS Board of Directors have worked collaboratively in the development and implementation of the Clean Data Initiative. We are deeply thankful to Diane Ramirez, John Wollberg, Steven Goldschmidt, Clelia Peters, Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, and Michael Bisordi for their dedication and leadership.

The evolution of the RLS follows careful planning by a team of hardworking professionals. A key member of the REBNY team who deserves special thanks is Freddy Sarabia.

After more than six years as REBNY RLS Director, Freddy has accepted a new career opportunity in Arizona. Freddy has overseen the growth of the RLS, the day-to-day management of operations, and technical aspects of the new platform. We are grateful to Freddy for his leadership and wish him the very best in his next assignment.

John Canniffe will lead the RLS and its next phase as we continue to innovate and effectively serve our members.

For the past eighteen months, we’ve empowered REBNY brokers and agents to share residential listings with our growing network of local, national, and international consumer websites.

Since the launch of RLS Syndication we’ve seen approximately 600 residential brokerage firms participating in the RLS, and 98 percent of them have adopted Syndication. Major consumer websites like Realtor.com, Homes.com, Apartments.com, and the New York Times, are a part of this expansive network. The RLS today powers more than 100 websites.

Improving the RLS is the result of listening to our members. It is our job to give them the best tools to do business and keep residential real estate a thriving industry. We care deeply about the success of brokerage firms and agents.

We will continue to focus on the evolution of the RLS, introduce new products and services, and fully support the changing needs of the industry.

Again, the RLS is for the industry by the industry and REBNY is here to empower and protect that. REBNY members with questions or concerns about the new compliance system can contact rlssupport@rebny.com.

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