Are You Promoting Other Brokers’ Listings on Craigslist?  Stop and read this!

Marketing other brokers' listing on Craigslist without their permission is:

  • Against SWMLS Rules and Regulations.
  • A violation of state and federal copyright laws.
  • A REALTOR® Code of Ethics violation.

On top of that, if you fail to do so with very clear attribution to the listing broker, you are also practicing deceptive advertising and could also be found guilty of:

  • Violating the Federal Trade Commission Act, Section 5 due to deceptive advertising.
  • Violating of NMREC Rules and Regulations on Advertising. 


From time to time it is reported to the Service that MLS Participants and Subscribers are using listing information (including photos) directly from the SWMLS compilation to advertise on Craigslist.  What’s more, many of the listings advertised on Craigslist are actually listed or represented by a Broker other than the one who supplied the information to and is advertising on Craigslist.  At times, some listing information, including the listing price, has even been manipulated or edited.  Additionally, the status for many listings remains unchanged, resulting in pending, closed and off-market listings being actively marketed on Craigslist.

Is this a compliance issue?  Is this ethical REALTOR® behavior?  Is it legal?  

Below is a synopsis of the information you need to know, whether you are entering MLS listings on Craigslist for which you are the listing Broker, or if you are entering other Brokers’ listings.

Southwest Multiple Listing Service (SWMLS) 

When a complaint is filed by a Participant or Subscriber regarding a listing they represent that is being displayed on Craigslist, the MLS reviews the information in comparison to the SWMLS Rules and Regulations to determine if a violation has been or is being committed.

The SWMLS Rules and Regulations speak directly to this in many ways.

  • Section 2.7 states that ‘a listing shall not be advertised by any Participant other than the listing broker without the prior consent of the listing broker.’
  • If permission is granted, the information ‘shall identify the listing firm in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of listing data’ (Section 18.3.3).  This is also referred to as ‘attribution.’
  • Section 10.3 states that the ‘Use of information developed by or published by an association multiple listing service is strictly limited to the activities authorized under a participant’s licensure(s) or certification and unauthorized uses are prohibited.’
  • Section 12.1 addresses that ‘Participants and those persons affiliated as licensees with such participants shall be permitted to display The Service compilation to prospective buyers only in conjunction with their ordinary business activities of attempting to locate ready, willing, and able buyers for the properties described in said Service compilation.’  
  • Section 12.2 states that the ‘Participant/Subscriber be permitted to provide prospective buyers with listing data relating to properties in which the prospective buyer has a bona fide interest in purchasing or in which the Participant/Subscriber is seeking to promote interest.’
  • Even though listings displayed on Craigslist are not directly provided via an IDX Feed from the Service, the Rules pertained to IDX would certainly apply.  
  • Section 18.2.5 – ‘Participants must refresh all MLS downloads and IDX displays automatically fed by those downloads at least once every twelve (12) hours.’

Since Craigslist ads do not automatically update, unless the Broker posting the ad makes the appropriate change to the information on Craigslist once the MLS information is changed, that could be considered false advertising or misrepresentation.

Section 18.2.11 – ‘Participants shall not modify or manipulate information relating to other participants listings. MLS participants may augment their IDX display of MLS data with applicable property information from other sources to appear on the same webpage or display, clearly separated by the data supplied by the MLS. The source(s) of the information must be clearly identified in the immediate proximity to such data.'

It is important to note that violations of these rules could result in fines, sanctions, or additional action rendered by the Service.  For example, should a Participant or Subscriber be found in violation of Sections 10 or 12 of the SWMLS Rules or Regulations, they run the risk of being assessed a fine of $5,000, as well as being reported to the Board of Directors of the Service with a recommendation from the Compliance Committee for possible suspension of services.  

REALTOR® Code of Ethics

The Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS® Professional Standards Department handles ethics enforcement in the Greater Albuquerque market.  Formal ethics complaints are taken seriously and are processed according to the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.  

Below are just a few of the ethical issues that speak to the issue of advertising of listings by REALTORS®.

Article 12: REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations

Standard of Practice 12-4: REALTORS® shall not offer for sale/lease or advertise property without authority. When acting as listing brokers or as subagents, REALTORS® shall not quote a price different from that agreed upon with the seller/landlord. 

Standard of Practice 12-5: REALTORS® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that REALTOR®’s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner

If a member is found in violation of the Code of Ethics, the Ethics Hearing Panel will apply fair and consistent disciplinary sanctions based on the determined offence.  Possible sanctions include a letter of warning, mandatory attendance at an educational session, a fine, suspension, or any combination of these as determined by the Professional Standards Hearing Panel.  

New Mexico Real Estate Commission (NMREC)

The Rules of the New Mexico Real Estate Commission, as the licensing body for real estate practitioners in New Mexico, contain many sections devoted to the advertisement of real estate and real estate services.  





To review, please click here for a copy of the Rules effective January 1, 2017, or call the Commission at (505) 222-9820 for more information.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 was signed into law to empower the Commission to (a) prevent unfair methods of competition, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce; (b) seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers; (c) prescribe trade regulation rules defining with specificity acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive, and establishing requirements designed to prevent such acts or practices; (d) conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce; and (e) make reports and legislative recommendations to Congress.

To summarize, Section 5 - Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices determines that a representation, omission or practice is considered deceptive if it is likely to mislead consumers and affect consumers' behavior or decisions about the product or service.

Click here for a guide provided by the FTC in regards to Advertising and Marketing on the Internet. 

In Closing…

If you are an MLS Participant of Subscriber looking to advertise listings on Craigslist, consider these questions;

  • If you are the listing Participant or Subscriber, has your seller given explicit permission to advertise on Craigslist?
  • If you are not the listing Participant or Subscriber, have you received explicit permission from the listing Participant or Subscriber that you may advertise the listing on Craigslist?
  • If you have received permission to advertise another listing Broker’s listing on Craigslist, have you provided appropriate attribution and contact information for the listing brokerage?
  • Have you considered the implications of the advertisement in comparison to the Rules and Regulations of the Southwest Multiple Listing Service?
  • Could the manner in which you are advertising the listing be construed as unethical behavior per the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice?
  • Have you considered whether the behavior meets your own personal ethical standards? 
  • Have you consulted the Rules of the New Mexico Real Estate Commission to ensure the advertisement meets the requirements set forth?
  • Have you ensured that the information in the advertisement is accurate and updated in a timely manner to ensure there is no false or misleading advertising or misrepresentation of the property, or the service you are able to provide in relation to the listing?