Realtors seek to force Justice Department to settle

In the latest development in a year-long legal battle over real estate rules, the National Association of Realtors filed a petition to prevent the Justice Department from pulling out of a settlement agreement.

“The DOJ’s action should be considered null and void on the sole basis of legal precedent,” NAR Chairman Charlie Oppler said in a statement. “The DOJ must be governed by principle, and NAR simply expects the department to honor its commitments.”

The NAR filed its motion on Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In its 2020 lawsuit, the department alleged that the association’s commission rules artificially inflated the fees paid to realtors by landlords. The association denied the qualification of its rules, but agreed to make changes to its policies.

He said he would change the rules of his commission system to clarify that agency services provided to homebuyers are not free and to make it easier for the public to see what commissions agents are paid, among other changes. .

But in July, the Justice Department withdrew from the settlement, saying it determined the deal would not adequately protect its rights to investigate other conduct by the NAR that could affect competition on the real estate market.

“The department is taking this step to allow a wider investigation into the rules and conduct of the NAR to proceed without restriction,” the department said in announcing its withdrawal from the settlement agreement.

According to the Justice Department’s then statement, the deal fell apart because it wanted to amend it “to adequately protect and preserve the Department’s rights to investigate and challenge further conduct of the NAR “, but could not reach an agreement with the realtors. group.

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