BrokerageIndustry News

Rentals Web site files lawsuit over licensing requirement

State says online display of rental ads requires real estate license

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The operators of a rental-search Web site are suing the Missouri Real Estate Commission over its insistence that the site shut down for lack of a real estate brokerage license to display online real estate information. The state's Attorney General's Office stated in a court filing that the company's business activities "constitute the practice of a real estate broker ... and/or as a real estate salesperson" under state law and seeks to dismiss the complaint. Similar lawsuits by other companies have opposed similar regulations in California and New Hampshire. Property advertising Web site won its legal dispute against the California Department of Real Estate when a U.S. District Court ruled in November 2004 that state law violated the First Amendment in requiring Web sites to obtain a broker's license in order to display for-sale real estate information. The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest firm, supported that case and a similar lawsuit filed by Z...