Federal agency says ‘downward pressure’ on fees would result if Competition Tribunal strikes down restrictions

(Source: Globe and Mail)

The federal Competition Bureau says it will challenge the restrictive rules that govern the multiple listing service (MLS) system used by most Canadian home sellers to list their properties.

The MLS system, run by the Canadian Real Estate Association, includes information that is only available to CREA members, and that is too restrictive, the bureau said Monday.

It also wants consumers to be able to pay a fee to list their homes on MLS without being forced to get a whole range of other services that they must pay for . This would essentially allow homeowners to use MLS for a small fee, then negotiate the sale of their homes without the help of an agent.

The bureau has filed an application to the Competition Tribunal, a quasi-judicial body that will decide if its complaint is justified.

Read Richard Blackwell’s full article “Competition Bureau seeks to smash ‘anti-competitive’ CREA rules on MLS” in the Globe and Mail (February 8, 2010).

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