By catering to consumers, will MLSs draw unwanted attention from regulators?

If multiple listing services want to become a trusted provider of data to consumers — a subject of contentious debate — do they risk being regulated like public utilities?

While the real estate industry successfully fended off a Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit in a 2008 settlement, real estate technology consultant Rob Hahn thinks that because the information that MLSs aggregate is used by mortgage lenders, the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau might see that information as falling within its purview.

Attorney and consultant Brian Larson — who, like Hahn, attended an industry conference last week where the role of the MLS was debated — thinks such worries are overblown.

Although Larson says he shares Hahn’s concerns about catering to consumers, regulation of MLSs would have to come “either from legislation or agency oversight, which itself has to be tracked back to some kind of legislation. There’s no evidence that anyone has seriously considered that with regard to MLSs, and MLSs are not much like the things that have been subject to such regulation.” Source: mlstesseract.com