Rule Updates

Rule Updates

Posted on 04. Jan, 2021 by in News, Rules and Regulations/Policies

Keep up-to-date on the most recent rule changes.

Virtually Staged and Enhanced Images
The following new rule has been approved by the Board of Directors regarding modified photos. A system change has also been released to watermark modified photos as either Virtually Staged or Virtually Enhanced.

Section 1.20
Virtually Staged and Enhanced Images
Photos, virtual tours, and video (hereinafter referred to as images) may be modified using software to create a conceptual rendering of what the property could look like if certain items or elements were added or enhanced, so long as the images portray an accurate representation of the property and are not deceptive to potential buyers. Altering images that change the accuracy of the property’s depiction or representation is prohibited.
Modified images may include the following:
a)    Virtually Staged Images, such as images of furniture in an empty room or removal of non-fixed home elements or furnishings from a photo and replacing them with digital images of furnishings, mirrors, artwork, plants, etc.
b)    Virtually Enhanced Images, such as making a sky blue or creating a twilight photo.
Disclosure required: Disclosure of Virtually Staged or Virtually Enhanced Images is required by checking the “Virtually Staged” or “Virtually Enhanced” field, which will watermark the photo accordingly.
Note:  Virtually Altered Images are prohibited. This includes, but it not limited to: removing, altering, or adding permanent fixtures of the interior or exterior, modifying photos to exclude negative visual elements, or adding views from the property that do not exist.
The service may remove photographs, virtual tours, videos, or any other media that do not adhere to these Rules and Regulations.


Registration of Teams
The NJMLS Board of Directors approved a new rule regarding registration of office teams. The new rule requires Brokers to register all teams in their office, and defines guidelines for identifying teams:

Section 1.18
Registration of Teams
Participants must register all teams in their office with the Service. Teams may consist of two or more Participants/Subscribers associated with the same company who pool resources to list and sell/lease properties. Registration must include the team name, name of the team leader, and names of all licensed members of the team who are Subscribers to the Service. Team names cannot contain terms that imply that the team is offering brokerage services independent of the broker or violate state licensing laws. Some prohibited terms are brokerage, company, and associates. Before using a team name in an advertisement, the Participant must register the team name with NJMLS. All transactions by team members accrue to the Team for Market Share rankings and are not credited to the Subscriber’s Agent Market Share ranking.
Note: Subscribers who work as a partnership to co-list or co-sell/lease property are not required to register as a team provided all Subscriber names appear on the listing or sale/lease in the Service where credit in Market Share Statistics will be split equally among all parties to the transaction.


New Policy on Violations
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently introduced a new policy outlining procedures which may be taken for violations of our Rules and Regulations by Participants (Designated Realtors) and Subscribers (agents), which are as follows:

Section 9.1
Violations of Rules and Regulations
In any instance where a Participant in an association multiple listing service is charged with a violation of the MLS bylaws or rules and regulations of the service, and such charge does not include alleged violations of the Code of Ethics or the Standards of Conduct for MLS Participants, or a request for arbitration, the Service may impose administrative sanctions. Recipients of more than five category 1 administrative sanctions/rule violations, more than three category 2 administrative sanctions/rule violations, or more than three category 3 administrative sanctions/rule violations will be required to attend a hearing of the Rules Committee of the MLS. The Rules Committee shall consist of at least two members of the NJMLS Board of Directors and one member of the NJMLS Technology Committee. The Service will send a copy of all administrative sanctions/violations against a Subscriber to the Subscriber’s Participant and the Participant will be required to attend the hearing of a Subscriber. Failure to attend a hearing within 30 days of receiving written notice of a required hearing may result in Participant’s and Subscriber’s suspension of membership in the Service.
Category 1 violation means a rule violation related to listing information provided by Participant or Subscriber.
Category 2 violation means a rule violation relating to IDX and VOW displays.
Category 3 violation means a rule violation relating to cooperation with a fellow Participant or Subscriber, and mandatory submission of listing to the service.

Hearings will be conducted by members of our Board of Directors and Technology Committee, and will be done virtually at this time. Possible outcomes include completion of appropriate training; appropriate, reasonable fines; suspension or possible termination of MLS rights, services, and privileges. Please refer to the NJMLS Rules and Regulations for complete description of possible outcomes from a hearing; they can be found in XL Paragon > Toolkit > Forms, Docs & Gen Info.

Market Share Data in Advertising
The NJMLS Board of Directors recently approved an amendment to Section 13 of the NJMLS Rules and Regulations regarding the use of Market Share Statistics in advertising. In addition to disclosing whether ranking is based on individual, team, office, or company statistics, and disclosing the criteria upon which the ranking is based, the rule has been further amended to prohibit identifying competitors by name or other identifiable characteristic; comparisons can only be made generically. This additional amendment to the rule is highlighted below:

Section 13
Limitations on Use of MLS Information

In addition, advertisements which contain Market Share Statistics must indicate whether the ranking is based on individual, team, office, or company statistics, and must include all the search criteria used to determine the published ranking. Further, when competitive statistics are used in advertising, whether agent, team, office, or company statistics, the competitor cannot be identified or inferred in the advertising, either by name or by any other identifiable characteristic such as company color scheme, logo, tag line, etc. Comparisons can only be made generically, with permitted language such as Office 1, Office 2 or Agent 1, Agent 2, etc. Failure to comply will result in a $500 dollar fine for the first offense, $1000 fine for subsequent offenses.

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