In the wake of a series of antitrust lawsuits challenging residential commission rules, New York City’s Real Estate Board (REBNY) has pledged to take a tough stance against legal proceedings targeting its Universal Co-Brokerage Agreement (UCBA). The board, which governs the city’s real estate landscape, communicated its resolve in a Thursday morning email to its members.
The legal challenge comes from a New York home seller who, along with 26 local real estate firms, filed a lawsuit earlier this month. The plaintiff alleges that REBNY’s UCBA violates antitrust laws by mandating sellers to pay buyers’ agents. The board, in response, informed its members that it would vehemently dispute the claims made in the lawsuit.
“REBNY will vigorously defend the litigation and respond to the complaint, which is laden with numerous inaccuracies regarding the RLS, the UCBA, and the business of real estate,” stated the board in its notice to agents.
A significant development leading up to this legal confrontation is the recent update to the UCBA by REBNY in October. One notable change in the agreement prohibits listing brokers from directly paying buyers’ agents. Instead, the new rules mandate sellers to pay buyers’ agents directly. These updated regulations are set to take effect on January 1.
The lawsuit in New York City follows closely on the heels of a recent antitrust case, the Sitzer/Burnett verdict, filed in Missouri. This case targeted the National Association of Realtors, as well as two residential brokerages, HomeServices of America and Keller Williams. The outcome of the Missouri case, which unfolded less than two weeks prior, has potentially set a precedent and adds to the backdrop of the legal scrutiny facing real estate practices.
As the real estate landscape navigates these legal challenges, stakeholders are closely watching how the New York lawsuit will unfold and whether it will have broader implications for industry practices. The real estate community is keenly aware of the potential ripple effects that legal decisions in one jurisdiction can have on the industry nationwide. The January 1 implementation of the updated UCBA rules will likely add another layer of complexity to an already contentious legal landscape.
Source: The Real Deal