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Clear Cooperation is a new National Association of Realtors® (NAR) policy that will affect 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 Charlotte area.

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 is implementing new language and requirements with guidance from its Clear Cooperation Task Force, which is 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 to be ready for implementation 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 on page 1 of this flyer.

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.

Sellers with privacy or security concerns can choose to 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.” Once a new construction property has received the Certificate of Occupancy, it is required to be submitted to the MLS.

NC REALTORS® and SC REALTORS® have implemented changes to the listing agreement forms to reflect the requirements of the Clear Cooperation policy. Check out these resources for more detailed information:

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 26th, 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 Flyer (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