Use of “MLS”

Use of “MLS” in Member Firm Name and Web Address

Effective March 3, 2006, the NorthstarMLS® Board passed a rule restricting Participants’ use of the terms “multiple listing service” and “MLS,” especially in company names, web addresses, web domain names and URLs. Any current use of these terms in this manner was required to cease no later than September 3, 2006 (except for company names already in effect on March 3, 2006). For the full rule, please see Section 13 of the RMLS Rules & Regulations (pdf).

The purpose of the new rule is to ensure there is no inference that a broker/agent is or operates MLS, nor inference that the public has access to MLS through any broker/agent Web site. For more information on the importance of appropriate use of MLS/multiple listing service, please see “MLS: What It Is and What It Is Not” from Regional MLS President John Mosey (pdf).

Below are examples of appropriate and inappropriate uses of the terms MLS and multiple listing service.

Inappropriate Uses:

    • Creating a company name (3-3-06 or later) that contains “multiple listing service” or “MLS,” such as TwinCitiesMLS.
    • Using “multiple listing service” or “MLS” in your Web site domain/URL such as
    • Making a statement on any Web page implying that the Web site visitor is searching the actual MLS database, such as “Search the MLS” or “Access RMLS/NorthstarMLS.”
    • Placing the RMLS or NorthstarMLS logos in any advertisement, Web site, or use in any other manner not authorized by Regional MLS of MN, Inc.

Appropriate Uses:

    • Stating that an agent or broker is a member of RMLS or NorthstarMLS.
    • Including an MLS number search function on your Broker Reciprocity Web site and labeling it “Search By MLS#.”
    • Instead of a statement like “Search the MLS,” use statements such as “Search for Homes,” “Search for Properties for Sale,” or if you want to reference the MLS: “Search for properties listed with Participants of Regional MLS of MN.”
    • Use of the MLS Service Mark available from The National Association of REALTORS® (view/download)

Required Disclaimer for Brokers that already have “MLS” in their company name:

For Participants that already had “MLS” or “multiple listing service” in their name before 3/3/06, a disclaimer must be placed prominently and conspicuously on the following:

    • All advertisements;
    • Web site home page;
    • Any page on the Web site from which visitors can search for property;
    • Any page on which another Participant’s listings appear.

The disclaimer must state that the company is not a multiple listing service but is a member of Regional MLS of MN, Inc.

If you have any questions, contact the NorthstarMLS Rules & Regulations Department at 651-251-3210.