multiple listing service (MLS)(US)
An arrangement by which real estate brokers place their listings together so that all members of the multiple-listing service have an opportunity to sell properties listed by other members of the service. The original or 'listing' broker obtains an exclusive right to sell and then agrees to supply details of the listed property to all members of the service, usually through a central office operated by a local real estate board or association. When a sale is effected by any member of the service, other than the listing broker, the commission is divided between the listing broker and the selling broker who effects the sale. A fee may also be payable to the central office. Multiple-listing services are used especially for residential properties. Such an arrangement should not preclude any licensed broker from joining the listing service as that may violate antitrust statutes, especially when such a prohibition severely limits a broker's ability to compete with member brokers (Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 (15 USCA § 1 et seq.; Grillo v. Board of Realtors, 91 NJ Super 202, 219 A.2d 635 (1966); Oates v. Eastern Bergen County Multiple Listing Service, Inc., 113 NJ Super 396, 273 A.2d 795 (1971); Collins v. Main Line Board of Realtors, 304 A.2d 493 (Pa 1973); San Diego Ass'n of Realtors v. Freeman, 322 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 124 S Ct 355 (2003)). The arrangement may also constitute an illegal restraint of trade (Marin County Board of Realtors, Inc. v. Palsson, 16 Cal App.3d 920, 130 Cal Rptr 1, 549 P.2d 833 (1976); Anno: 45 ALR3d 190: Validity, Construction, and Effect of Real-Estate Brokers' Multiple-Listing Agreement). The fixing of commission rates by the members of the service, or 'blacklisting' low commission listings, may be contrary to the provisions of state anti-trust laws or constitute illegal 'price fixing' under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, § 1 (United States v. Nat'l Association of Real Estate Boards, 339 US 485, 70 S Ct 711, 94 L Ed 1007 (1950); Penne v. Greater Minneapolis Area Board of Realtors, 604 F.2d 1143 (8th Cir. 1979); McLain v. Greater Minneapolis Area Board of Realtors, 444 US 232, 100 S Ct 502, 62 L Ed.2d 441 (1980)). Also, a multiple listing agreement may contravene state legislation designed to maintain business and professional codes and prevent price fixing (People v. Nat'l Association of Realtors, 155 Cal App.3d 578, 202 Cal Rptr 243 (1984); Anno: 22 ALR4th 103: Antitrust—Real Estate Association). See also list-back agreement, multiple listing, office exclusive.
C.J. Jacobus and B. Harwood. Real Estate Principles (7th ed. 1996), pp. 475-476.
12 Cor.Jur.Sec., Brokers, §§ 7, 50.