Remaining Aware of Antitrust

February 11, 2021

- By The MAR Legal Team

Throughout the pandemic, a lack of opportunities for in-person meetings has prompted many REALTORS® to seek online networking experiences. Some are relying on well-established social media websites and applications while others are discovering new ones. Whatever the platform, REALTORS® need to keep antitrust laws front and center when discussing business practices with their competitors.  

Specifically, REALTORS® must be wary of group boycotts, which are a violation of antitrust law. Boycotts occur when a group of practitioners or businesses agree not to do business with a particular business. A typical group boycott allegation in real estate brokerage involves a claim that two or more brokerages have agreed to refuse to cooperate or to cooperate on less favorable terms, with a third brokerage company. It would also fall within the definition of boycotts if several companies collectively determined not to use a particular service provider. To avoid antitrust problems related to boycotts, each business needs to make a decision on whether to do business with other real estate companies or service providers based on that company’s own judgments, goals, and experiences. The key to whether one’s conduct violates antitrust laws depends upon whether the decision is the result of a discussion or agreement with a competitive office. It is important to note that an agreement not to do business with a competitor does not need to be explicit to violate antitrust laws; an unspoken, or implied, agreement will suffice.  

Social media platforms can be a great way to connect, network, and discuss real estate but REALTORS® must always be aware of antitrust laws. This is particularly true when several competitors are discussing another competitor. For more information on antitrust laws, visit NAR’s resource page: