Legal Blog - MLS (Multiple Listing System)


MLS Listing Photos

Sep 27, 2016


MLS Listing Photos

Question: Let’s now turn our attention to pictures. It has become standard for MLS listings to include photos of the advertised property. How do you select your pictures, can you alter them, and what are the consequences of posting pictures on your MLS listing?

Answer:  First, let’s address the issues surrounding the choice of pictures. If the pictures of the house reveal some of the problems with the property, is it permissible to “clean them up?” I believe that any time you make a material change to a photo that alters the physical condition of the property; you may be violating Article 12 of the Code of Ethics. Article 12 requires that Realtors® present a true picture in their advertising and real estate communications. As always, some scenarios will be clear code violations and others would get different results from different panels. An example of a clear violation would be to erase a visible crack in the foundation, or fill in a hole in the roof. But what about removing the dandelions in the grass, or removing a cloud in the sky? For these I would say that reasonable people could disagree.

Once the photos have been selected and you are about to post them on MRIS, other rules come into play. MRIS has a “Photo Upload Terms of Use” that you agree to every time you post a picture. Here is a summary of their rules:
(1) Photos and images are uploaded on a per listing basis and are not transferable to another listing.
(2) The photos and images are copyrighted by MRIS.
(3) You assert that you will not submit an image or photo that you do not have the right to assign to MRIS.

Finally, other articles, such as Article 2 (misrepresentation or concealment of pertinent facts about a property) and 10 (prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin), also impact how social media can be used by Realtors®. Agents should also familiarize themselves with those Articles.

Editor’s Note: Michelle Yam of MRIS provided the summary of the Photo Upload Terms of Use
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