The Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois leveled its latest punch in the duke out with real estate brokers in the Chicago area.

MLSNI will enforce an all-in or all-out policy regarding brokerage firms’ participation in the MLS after three large Chicago-area realty brokerages pulled listings from certain offices, Inman News has learned.

The MLSNI board of directors this week approved a motion to require that if a brokerage firm participates in the service, all of its offices within the market area must participate. The decision prohibits member brokers from putting listings from some offices, but not others in the MLS database.

MLSNI is one of the largest association-owned MLSs in the country with about 39,000 members in more than 6,900 realty offices.

Coldwell Banker was the first Chicago-area brokerage to begin pulling listings from certain offices out of MLSNI. The brokerage in March pulled all of its for-sale listings from 10 of its offices in Chicagoland’s North Shore region, and instead posted the listings exclusively with MAP MLS, a smaller broker-owned operation based in nearby Palatine, Ill.

Koenig & Strey GMAC, which has 13 offices and 700 sales agents in the Chicago area, followed suit last month and pulled the listings from its Northshore offices out of MLSNI in favor of MAP. Baird & Warner apparently has done the same, according to a Chicago Association of Realtors memo that Inman News obtained.

A legal challenge to the newly adopted policy is anticipated, the memo also said.

MLSNI CEO Jay Huffman said the board has adopted the policy, but is still working through the mechanics of implementation. The projected date for brokers to comply is June 15.

Huffman said the decision stemmed from complaints MLSNI received from members that some agents from the offices where listings had been pulled from MLSNI had continued to use the system.

“The perception among the rest of our customers is that some agents from those offices removed from (the MLS) are violating the rules and continuing to access the MLS through other branch offices who are still in MLSNI,” he said.

The MLS didn’t want to further alienate brokers who have pulled listings by adopting the new policy, but saw it as a necessary step to preserve the integrity of the database, Huffman added.

“We believe it is a necessary and required step for the continued success of the operation of the multiple listing service. We’ve discussed the situation with our attorneys, outside attorneys and the legal department at the National Association of Realtors,” Huffman said.

Stephen Baird, president of Baird & Warner, confirmed that four of the company’s offices in the North Shore region pulled listings from MLSNI early this week and will now post listings exclusively with MAP MLS. He said the company’s reasons are consistent with Coldwell Banker and Koenig & Strey.

“We’re not happy with what’s going on at MLSNI and think this is a better avenue for us,” he said.

Executives from Koenig & Strey and Coldwell Banker weren’t immediately available to comment.


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