Industry News

DOJ, FTC testify to Senate antitrust subcommittee

Officials provide update on real estate enforcement actions

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While some states maintain rules that ban real estate rebates to consumers or "undermine online brokerage models," last year several states took action "to enhance competition to the benefit of consumers," a U.S Justice Department antitrust official stated in testimony to a Senate subcommittee this week. Thomas O. Barnett, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, noted that legislators in Delaware, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin "passed bills that included a waiver provision to enable individual consumers to choose not to purchase unwanted types of real estate brokerage services." Barnett testified Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. Those legislative efforts buck a trend that the Justice Department and FTC have opposed -- so-called minimum-service legislation backed by Realtor trade groups that creates new mandatory service requirements for real estate licensees while outlawing business m...