Legal Lines: May 2020

Question: I took a buyer to visit a home in a different part of the state where I do not belong to the local MLS. The buyer loved the property and wanted to put an offer on the property. When I contacted the listing agent, she informed me that my commission split would be much less than what they offered to members of their local MLS. Is this this legal? I thought real estate licensees had a duty to cooperate?

Answer: REALTORS® are required to cooperate with one in another. However, cooperation does not equal compensation. When a broker makes an offer of compensation in an MLS, it is to the members of the MLS. A broker is not obligated to offer that compensation to real estate agents who are not members of the MLS. When looking at properties outside of your MLS membership, it is important to negotiate the commission split prior to the showing by using GAR Form F258 Co-Op Commission Agreement.

In our Legal Lines column, we feature a question from GAR’s Legal Helpline each month. Answers to these questions are provided by GAR General Counsel, Seth Weissman. Questions and answers are edited for brevity and clarity. Click here to learn more about our Legal Helpline or to submit a question.