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Apartment agents facing $20,000 fines for RLS fibs

The Real Estate Board of New York is set to start issuing fines of up to $20,000 to agents who put fake info into its RLS.

Starting September 15, agents who commit “data violations” that include incorrect closing price, commission type or listing status could be fined up to $20,000 for a sales listing or $3,200 for a rental listing.

If a listing is in violation of FHA law, brokers will receive a notification and fine that requires immediate action. Brokers must correct the listing within two days and pay a fine. Failure to correct the violation and pay the fine will result in an additional fine and termination of access to the RLS.

JOHN CANNIFFE

“We are committed to consumer transparency and as New York City’s key civic partner, enforcing accurate listing data that New Yorkers, brokers and owners rely upon is our number one priority. REBNY will continue to lead with high industry standards and best practices for the residential brokerage industry through the ongoing evolution of the RLS,” said John Canniffe, head of the REBNY’s RLS.

REBNY announced enhanced RLS compliance measures and fines in 2019 as part of an industry-wide effort led by its Residential RLS Board of Directors and Residential Brokerage Board of Directors to deter bad actors from sullying its listings feed.

REBNY’s RLS is the centralized source of real-time residential listing information used by more than 14,000 New York City real estate professionals and 90+ syndication partners. REBNY regulates listing data in the RLS to ensure transparency for consumers and compliance with New York State advertising law and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Compliance monitoring began with a one-year grace period focused on educating RLS members before imposing any fines. REBNY will now begin issuing fines September 15, 2020.

“While the RLS has not tracked a single FHA violation in more than a year, we are incredibly vigilant and dedicated to continuing that trend,” said Canniffe.

In addition to individual violations, REBNY will also conduct quarterly reviews of overall violations for participating RLS brokerage firms and if more than five percent of agents within a firm are in violation, the firm will also incur a fine up to $10,000.

After September 15, RLS participants can still avoid fines for data violations by correcting any issues and updating noncompliant listings within three days of receiving the first courtesy notice of a violation from RLS staff.

REBNY’s RLS includes an average of more than 17,000 active listings from more than 600 brokerage firms and property owners, representing a total of $29 billion worth of residential real estate in New York City.

The RLS provides the infrastructure that allows brokers to share residential property listing data with other brokerage firms and a powerful network of third-party websites and products so consumers can find new homes.

The RLS provides the most accurate and up-to-date listing information available in the five boroughs because it comes directly from brokerages and property owners and is centralized through a single feed. REBNY’s listing service offers maximum exposure for sellers and property owners, while also providing transparent inventory of available residential listings to buyers and renters.

For more information about REBNY’s Residential Listing Service, visit www.rlsny.com.

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