Legal Updates & Resources

DOJ reaches settlement with NAR

DOJ reaches settlement with NAR

The settlement agreement reached between the DOJ and NAR on November 19, 2020, will develop rules that more explicitly state what is already the spirit and intent of NAR’s Code of Ethics and MLS policies regarding providing information about commissions and MLS participation. For slides you can share on this, click HERE.


  • The amount of a buyers’ agents’ compensation will be publicly available in each MLS listing, and “buyers’ agents will have an affirmative obligation to provide such information to their clients for homes of interest.”
  • NAR reaffirmed that MLSs and brokerages must show consumers all properties that fit their search criteria – regardless of the compensation offered or the name of the listing brokerage.
  • Agents representing buyers cannot tell buyers that their services are free. “There will be a rule that more definitively states that buyers’ agents cannot represent their services as free to clients,” says Katie Johnson, General Counsel for NAR.
  • Licensed agents that do not subscribe to an MLS will have access to lockboxes, providing the seller approves.
  • In entering this agreement with the DOJ, NAR admits no liability, wrongdoing, or truth of any allegations by the DOJ. The agreement does not subject NAR to any fines or any payments.


After these three steps are completed, the new rules will take effect:

1. NAR and DOJ expect to agree on the final rule changes within 45 days.

2. NAR’s Board of Directors will have to approve the new rules.

3. The court that is overseeing the DOJ-NAR settlement must approve the final rule changes.

NAR’s full FAQ and future updates can be found HERE

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