The National Association of Realtors® today filed a petition to quash a request by the Department of Justice that reneges on the terms of a settlement agreement that was approved by the DOJ in November 2020. The DOJ attempt to withdraw from that fully binding agreement in July 2021, after NAR had already begun to implement its terms, is a breach of the agreement and the law.
“The DOJ action should be considered null and invalid based on legal precedent alone,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler, a Realtor® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. “The DOJ must be governed by principle, and NAR simply expects the department to live up to its commitments.”
As the NAR petition indicates, the DOJ is trying to back out of its agreed-upon obligations. “By its action, the DOJ thinks it should be free to reconsider the terms of an agreement at any time, for any reason – or no reason at all,” Oppler said. “If that view prevails, it would undermine the strong public policy in favor of upholding settlement agreements and public confidence that the government will keep its word in future cases.”
NAR guidance for local broker organizations has long been recognized to ensure fair and competitive real estate markets for home buyers and sellers. In fact, having the listing broker pay the buyer broker’s commission increases competition, by allowing small brokerages to compete on a level playing field with large brokerages and promotes equitable home ownership opportunities for all consumers.
“NAR remains hopeful the DOJ will honor its agreement,” Oppler said. “We also remain committed to advancing and defending independent and local real estate organizations that provide for greater economic opportunity and equity for small businesses and consumers of all backgrounds and financial means.”
Learn more about the 2020 NAR-DOJ Agreement Regarding MLS Rules.