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Clear Cooperation, a National Association of Realtors® (NAR) policy, affects every MLS participant and subscriber. This mandatory policy requires entry of a listing in the MLS within one business day of publicly marketing the listing. The NAR Board of Directors adopted the policy in November 2019 with a May 1, 2020, deadline for all MLSs to implement the policy.

Learn more about the policy


"Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public." (Adopted 11/19)

To reduce the number of off-market/pocket listings in the current low-inventory market in many U.S. locations, including the markets served by Canopy MLS.

To promote fairness and nondiscrimination in housing sales by exposing listings to the extensive MLS marketplace.

To support the pro-competitive and pro-consumer MLS model of cooperation and compensation among participants. The public marketing of a listing obligates the MLS participant to list the property in the MLS.

Canopy MLS implemented the Clear Cooperation Policy with guidance from its Clear Cooperation Task Force, which was made up of a broad range of MLS participants and subscribers from the MLS Advisory Group and Canopy MLS Board of Directors. The task force’s recommendations were approved by the full Canopy MLS Board of Directors in March 2020 and implemented on May 1, 2020.

No. Firm (office) exclusive listings are an important option for sellers concerned about privacy and wide exposure of their for-sale property. Common examples include divorce situations and celebrity clients. Such sellers must sign a certification indicating that the seller, the listing brokerage, or any other entity cannot publicly market the listing in any way, including by means noted in NAR’s Clear Cooperation policy.

In a firm exclusive listing, promotion of the listing between brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage, and one-to-one promotion among these licensees and their clients, is not considered public advertising.

However, if at any point a firm exclusive listing is available to another brokerage (whether or not they are in the MLS), the property would then be required to be added to the MLS. In addition to public marketing, Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations also require the listing be submitted to the listing service and disseminated to its participants within one (1) business day if:

  • The listing brokerage or seller entertain any communication about the listing from an agent who is not affiliated with the listing brokerage, or prospective buyer who is the client or prospect of an agent/broker not affiliated with the listing brokerage, even if there was no public marketing. Examples include, but are not limited to, allowing a showing, countering an offer, or accepting an offer to purchase.
  • The property is shown prior to the Marketing Date, even if there was no public marketing.

The listing brokerage must file the firm exclusive listing with the service within two (2) business days from the “Effective Date” of the listing agreement, but it will not be disseminated. (In Matrix, under Resources, select Canopy MLS Forms, select Firm Exclusive Registration.)

Filing of the listing should be accompanied by certification signed by the Seller that he or she does not desire the listing to be disseminated by the service. The Listing Brokerage may use the “Firm Exclusive Agreement” form affirming that the Seller(s) do not want the listing to be disseminated by Canopy MLS.

If the seller later determines that public marketing is desired, the listing brokerage must amend the listing agreement to obtain marketing authorization from the seller prior to submitting the listing to Canopy MLS.

Sellers with privacy or security concerns can have their listings in the MLS without distributing the listings to public websites. Furthermore, Canopy MLS does not require subscribers to place a lockbox on the property.

For Canopy MLS, the Clear Cooperation policy applies to the sale or exchange of the following property types:

  • Single family
  • Condo/townhouse
  • Lots/acres/farms
  • Multifamily properties of four units or less

It does not apply to commercial properties, rental properties, auction properties, fractional listings and new construction that is “Proposed” and “Under Construction.” If a listing agreement for new construction is not set up as a Firm Exclusive and the property is not already under contract when the Certificate of Occupancy is issued, then it is required to be submitted to the MLS.

The listing agent is responsible for ensuring that third-party vendors, such as home stagers and photographers, comply with the Clear Cooperation policy. The listing agent should instruct third-party vendors not to publish any information about a listing until both the seller and the listing brokerage are fully prepared to enter the listing into the MLS within one business day of beginning marketing.


On March 26, 2020 the Canopy MLS Board of Directors approved:
The Clear Cooperation Task Force Recommendations (PDF)


Firm Exclusive Agreement (PDF)
Updates to listing policies/rule changes (PDF)


Clear Cooperation FAQs (PDF)
Clear Cooperation Brochure (educate photographers, home stagers, etc.) (PDF)


Debbie Wey, Vice President of MLS Administration for Canopy MLS, explains the new policy, how to use the new Firm Exclusive Agreement form, and the additional changes implemented with the policy.

Watch the webinar


Window to the Law: Understanding the MLS Clear Cooperation Policy