President's Update: A New Compliance Culture

Earlier this summer, the ACTRIS MLS announced our commitment to bringing a renewed focus to MLS compliance in our marketplace. This shift in compliance culture has been driven by direct feedback from you and your peers, and the ACTRIS Board of Directors has made a concerted effort to improve focus in this arena. You’ve made it clear that there is not enough overall knowledge of the rules in our market, and it’s time that ACTRIS, with your help, turns the tide.

What we’re bringing to market is a revamped compliance plan that focuses primarily on the education of our Rules, support for our subscribers, and correction of MLS data. You’ve emphasized to us that when the data is clean, you’re able to efficiently conduct your business.

Education First and Foremost

The overhauled focus on the ACTRIS Rules and Regulations is also timed with a requirement for our ruleset to align with new NAR MLS policy requirements. While making these necessary changes, we’re also making our MLS Rules easier to understand and follow. Moving forward, each of the rules will fall into one of three compliance categories:

  • Category 1: Relating to any listing information provided by a participant or subscriber
  • Category 2: Relating to any IDX and VOW display rules
  • Category 3: Relating to cooperation with a fellow participant or subscriber, listing copyright violations, misuse of MLS data/tools, unauthorized MLS access, and mandatory submission of listings to the service

All three of these categories would begin with an education-first approach as ACTRIS staff reaches out regarding a potential violation. In most cases, we’ve found that MLS rules violations are not intentional and require a simple check-in from ACTRIS to explain the rule, make the correction needed, and show how to avoid a violation in the future. When we say there will be a shift in compliance culture, educating on the rules is the heart of the changes ACTRIS is bringing to market.

However, we also know that repeatedly ignoring MLS Rules hurts the entire marketplace and therefore, escalation and enforcement are also necessary. If the same rule is repeatedly broken, both the agent and responsible broker could be subject to required education courses, disciplinary hearings, and/or monetary penalties. As long as all parties take the time and energy to understand why initial violations occurred and how to correct them, these escalated steps should be few and far between.

We’re In This Together

It’s going to take all of us to raise the overall level of professionalism in the MLS. In our new compliance culture, ACTRIS will be counting on you to foster accountability and compliance in our marketplace. We’ll be your partners in this important work by providing you with resources to clearly explain the rules, simple steps to anonymously report compliance issues, and guidance for starting a conversation with your peers about why rules matter in our marketplace.

Stay tuned for upcoming MLS Compliance Updates, where we’ll begin to dig into specific MLS Rules changes with educational resources that will help you learn the new rules before they take effect later this summer. In the meantime, please share your questions and comments via the Idea Box in the ABoR Member Portal at Thank you for your time and attention during this important moment in our marketplace.

  • This article previously ran in RealtyLine Austin's July edition.