The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has sanctioned 1.25 million euros to Idealista, Remax, Inmovilla, Look & Find, Witei and Anaconda for having carried out a series of agreements to set prices and exchange information in the market of real estate intermediation.
The biggest sanction corresponds to Idealista, who will have to face the payment of 730,000 euros, followed by REMAX (375,720 euros) immovilla (83,149), Look & Find (31,486), Witei (18,925) and Anaconda (1,749), according to the CNMC. In the case of Witei, which has collaborated through the Clemency Program, its sanction has been delivered by 45%.
Although against this resolution there is no recourse on an administrative route, it is possible to file contentious-administrative resource at the national audience within two months. Competition explains that these companies used a system known as MLS (Multiple Listing System), which operates through a database that allows the real estate companies to share properties captured in a shared exclusive regime.
When a MLS user real estate captures a property, it can include it in the system, allowing the rest of the users to take the sale. In that case, the Chapening Office and the Vendor Office share the Commission agreed by the overall intermediation service offered.
In 2002, Remax and Look & Find promoted the project in Spain; Room, subsequently acquired by idealist, was responsible for technological development; In 2012, immovilla and living room adapted their systems to make them compatible; and in 2017, Anaconda, constituted by REMAX, Look & Find and MLS, joined the structure and was responsible for developing and managing a common base of real estate sharing.
In addition to the Franchisor Remax and Look & Find companies, the suppliers of idealist realistic software (through Idealista Tools), immovile and Witei, contributed actively to develop and implement the system through which the infraction was committed.
The franchisors who developed this MLS system approved a mandatory regulations for the User Realtors required to apply the minimum commission of 4% on sales and one month in rentals. It also imposed a distribution of the 50% commission between the hosting office of the property and the one that closed the transaction.
Failure to comply with the rules could lead to disciplinary sanctions and, even, suspension of associate condition, with the consequent impossibility of accessing the stock exchange.
Software companies also participated in anti-competitive behavior, since they were in system design meetings and established filters and other means of control that ensured that all properties increased to the system complied with the conditions required in the internal regulations, as indicated by the CNMC.
The implementation of a software that allowed the monitoring of fees in real estate captured from competitors and access to sensitive information among them allowed to ensure the application of the system in the real estate market, which is characterized by being atomized by the offer side and the demand.
Consequently, both standards and software developments limited competition among real estate by establishing minimum commissions and other commercial conditions and generating a level of transparency incompatible with the necessary competition between entities. In addition, they excluded the advantages of the MLS system to those entities that were not willing to accept the rules contrary to the competence contained in the Regulation.Date Of Update: 09 December 2021, 06:28