Trelora, a real estate brokerage startup located here in Denver that charges a flat fee for its services, appears to have breached the terms of its multiple listing service (MLS) subscription. What Trelora started doing was including, as part of its searchable home listings, the amount that home sellers are willing to pay a buyer’s agent when the property is sold.
In response, REcolorado, a MLS firm, is threatening to fine them, and suspend or terminate Trelora’s access to MLS data. Since then, Trelora had made some changes to meet some of REcolorado’s demands but was nevertheless continuing to post the commission rates to buyers on their website. Trelora lawyered up and was seeking to negotiate with REcolorado and determine where to go from there.
Since then, Trelora stopped posting broker commission information after they received a cease and desist letter from REcolorado. In response, Joshua Hunt, the CEO of Trelora posted an open letter on its website regarding the controversy. In it, he defended Trelora’s actions as fighting for transparency and consumer empowerment. He said, “Unfortunately, there are many in our industry who want to protect agents’ exclusive access to this important [financial] information.”
This live controversy taking place right here in Denver is a great example for how any time you sign-up for a data service like MLS, there is going to be a contract involved regulating what you can and cannot do with that data. Most of the time, there will be limitations preventing you from disclosing most, if not all, of such information to the general public. After all, there is probably a reason why nobody else has done what Trelora is doing. If you fail to comply with the terms of that contract by disclosing protected information, then you have clearly breached that contract and will be liable for damages. It is not surprising that Trelora finally agreed to take down this protected information, as they likely thought the legal battle they were facing would either be unsuccessful or cost-prohibitive to pursue any further.
If you are thinking about entering into a contract and you need help reviewing it and what you will be able to do going forward, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, PC, home of your Denver Business Attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.