A Cuban refugee friend (from greenwich, not the island nation) sends along news that the Miami Realtor Association has announced that it will start fining its members $5,000 for manipulating MLS data.
Now, for every manipulation of MLS content, the association’s more than 41,000 members will be required to pay $5,000 per violation, according to an email obtained by The Real Deal that was sent out to all members on Monday.
The new penalties come nearly a year after Miami Beach Realtor Kevin Tomlinson filed a complaint with the Miami Association of Realtors against Coldwell Banker’s Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber of The Jills, claiming they altered MLS data to hide homes that had been on the market for long periods of time. Tomlinson was arrested for allegedly trying to extort Hertzberg and Eber in August. Later that month, Tomlinson cited 353 alleged MLS manipulations, including 30 changes to active listings in 2014.
The Jills spokesperson, however, previously told The Real Deal the MLS changes were unintentional, and only concerned expired listings.
A manipulation of the Multiple Listings Service includes but is not limited to property type, county, MLS area, folio number, five-digit zip codes, and the manipulation of property history and/or days-on-market information, according to the Miami Association of Realtors’ email.
“This is a response to different things going on in the marketplace, things brought to our attention by [anonymous] sources that our electronic error system was not detecting,” Deborah Boza-Valledor, COO and chief marketing officer of the Miami Association of Realtors, told TRD. Now, she said the error system has been tweaked so that it detects if certain fields of data have been manipulated.
Tomlinson spoke about the changes on his Facebook page, calling it a “systemic problem with probably every MLS in the country.”