The National Association of REALTORS is the largest trade association in the country. Most member Realtors join their association because it means MLS access, and don’t quite get the benefits of membership. This isn’t to say that everything local, state and the National associations do is right; I have been a vocal critic of NAR at times, but this is not one of those times.
Recently, a Florida Realtor, Jeff Launiere, was sued for a fair housing infraction because someone found a home while searching on his website that contained verbiage that violated fair housing laws. The only problem was that this was not Jeff’s listing, he didn’t write the remark, and no human being can screen the thousands of listings on their Multiple Listing Service feed for that kind of nonsense.
The short version of the story is that he went to his brokerage for help, and corporate counsel apparently decided that settling was cheaper than fighting, He was asked to sign something that would not clear his name and “settle” despite an obviously case of mistaken identity, because, as I said, it wasn’t his listing or his fault. For several days, the Realtor community was abuzz about this madness and the unfortunate fate of our colleague who did nothing wrong.
Today, thanks in large part to intercession from NAR, the lawsuit was dismissed. As Jeff stated on his blog:
I just received word from Laurie Janik, Chief Legal Counsel at the National Association of Realtors that the Lawsuit has been dismissed.
In NAR’s Facebook group, Ms Janik cited the Communications Decency Act of 1996 as a law that protects publishers from liability for content provided by others. Bottom line: Mr Launiere was asked to sign a statement that would not clear his name in the interest of settling for legal expedience, and he pushed back. NAR helped to an unknown degree (and they told Jeff he the suit was dismissed), but it is clear that they interceded.
Madness did not prevail, and a good man got to clear his good name.
I could write more on dozens of other matters, but this is Jeff Launiere’s day. Add that to the list of things your association does for you.