Yours Truly, Compliance: Who Makes the Rules Around Here?

2023 Compliance Blog 1v3

There you are, getting some good work done, minding your business, when suddenly- DING! You get a message alert reading “CRMLS Citation Notice.” Sigh. You’ve been in the industry for years and you’ve never had a problem until today. What is compliance even there for? What do they even do?

In this blog post — the first of a short series diving into all things Compliance — let’s take a look at who, exactly, the Compliance team is and how they help give CRMLS users the best MLS experience they can.

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While receiving violation notices can be disheartening, the CRMLS Compliance team is working diligently to ensure the highest quality of listing data for the benefit of you and your clients. The Compliance team is comprised of twenty-five individuals who take extreme pride in upholding the integrity of MLS data so that you can be confident about the data you use in your business. But the CRMLS Compliance team does much more than just correct listings, process violations, and issue fines. CRMLS Compliance

provides various important services to CRMLS users from support to quality assurance and is committed to helping agents and brokers understand the MLS rules so that our users can avoid fines whenever possible.

The primary goal of the compliance team is to provide our users the cleanest and most accurate MLS information available and to ensure a level playing field, which is why we enact and enforce the CRMLS Rules and Citation Policy. Our Rules essentially mirror the National Association of REALTORS’ Model MLS Rules, with additional guidance from the California Association of REALTORS’ Model Rules. Ongoing editing and oversight of our Rules and Policies is handled by the CRMLS Rules Committee and our Board of Directors to ensure we’re all on the same page and we can all agree on how the Rules should be applied.

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Rules Committee? Board of Directors? Who are these people and why are they involved with all these rules? You may be thinking this Rules Committee or Board of Directors are some secretive MLS staff group looking to create more fines for more agents. That's not the case at all. In fact, these governing bodies are comprised of practicing agents and brokers who know and understand the real estate business, all of whom have volunteered their time and experience to make your MLS the best it can be. The CRMLS Rules

Committee is responsible for hearing from our stakeholder Associations and Board of REALTORS community and the agents and brokers they represent to enact needed changes to the rules and policies so we may continue offering the most reliable data. After the Rules Committee discusses needed changes and requests from their member agents, recommendations are presented to the Board of Directors for final review and approval. It’s the job of CRMLS to keep things in order following the guidance of our brokerage and agent community. You can see who is currently serving on the Rules Committee here and the Board of Directors here.

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At CRMLS, we welcome feedback and communication when it comes to our Rules and Policies. We encourage real estate professionals to discuss with their Association or Board of REALTORS’ MLS Committee or their Rules Committee representative any recommendations, concerns, or suggestions that they would like to put forth to the Rules Committee. With your feedback the CRMLS Compliance team will better be able to provide you with excellent service, support, and — most of all — an MLS with clean and reliable listing information.

While that’s all well and good, you’re probably still thinking “Yeah, but at the end of the day Compliance is still just out for my money.” Well, that’s far from the case. Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we get into some of the most common misconceptions about Compliance. We hope it will not only elaborate on the duties of Compliance but show how our dedicated team is working for the betterment of the MLS and all its users.   

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Steven J. Simonetti

    Thanks for sharing your side of the story because it’s overdue and needs to be shared.

    It’s quite obvious to me that we members are now spending a lot of money to help you share, explain and (defend) your position.

    However, as a long term career member I’m not really sure this information is entirely equitable. It will certainly be funded by the need for more citations on the horizon.

    It’s obvious to me now that by your even having to create this elaborate communication that there is an overdue attempt to “defend” what is going on with citations/violations revenue and complaints from many of us seasoned career agents. I understand this oversight may have started with “good intentions” to “clean-up” our industry. There is a reason for the existence of our Department of Real Estate to discipline bad actors. Please try to understand that you are my customer/vendor and you should not be an obstacle playing interference to running my successful business of representing my clients to their best interests.

    Many cases that you spend time and our money on in reviewing may need individual Broker decisions (rather than yours and the local Associations) that account exclusively to our clients needs.

    Some rules and regulations need to be questioned and yet even questioning you comes with additional fees and penalties.

    By the way, who is your customer? Do you believe in repeat business?

    Enjoy the extra money while it lasts.

    Good luck on your sustainability.

    1. CRMLS

      Thank you for your comment, we appreciate all feedback. The point of this blog is to help debunk common misconceptions and illuminate the truths about Compliance, including that we actually fine very little compared to the number of rule violations reported. We hope that as you read our upcoming posts in this series you will find the information helpful and that it clarifies issues regarding your concerns.

  2. Gloria D. White

    I agree with you, Steven. CRMLS’s intentions are good. But for them to impose fines and penalties questionable. It’d be nice if they’d give us at least 3 warnings prior though.

  3. Sharon Lewis

    I agree with Steven as well. Instead of going directly to the fine, a warning would be better. My previous MLS did that…..warn first and then if it was a repeat offense, they would levy a fine on the Realtor. And it was a minimum 500 dollar fine. I appreciate all you do and truly appreciate everyone who volunteers their time for this organization.

  4. Chris Hasvold

    I’m surprised at the number of agents complaining about compliance at CRMLS. I own and manage a 25-person office and can say that not one of my agents has ever received a citation. We have been warned several times like most companies but have always found the staff willing to work with us. I think compliance with the rules is a commitment we all have to take responsibility for. Our MLS is the most important tool in our industry, and we must treat it that way. Having to explain to a client who’s called to see a property or wanted to write an offer on a property that’s no longer available but the agent neglected to change the status makes our entire industry look bad. Understand that most violations are reported by another agent who wants a clean database to work from. There are about 30,000 complaints a year, and only a very small percentage (less than 15%) results in a fine, so the overwhelming number of complaints are corrected or dismissed without further action. It’s hard to rationalize a complaint when the top two citations are for failure to submit at least 1 photo and failure to correct (which only happens after several warnings).

    If we want our clients to respect us as professionals, we have to be willing to hold each other accountable.

  5. Linda DiStefano

    Thank you Chris Hasvold for your accurate reply to the complaints and accusations leveled at CRMLS and the compliance policies. Those complaining should donate their time to their Association MLS Committees or CRMLS Rules Committee. Do not sit around and complain and do nothing. Get involved and understand the entire process instead of criticizing the compliance policies which actually benefit them and their clients.

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