San Diego Business Journal

Real Estate Associations Clash in Court Over MLS

By Sarah de Crescenzo Sunday, October 30, 2016
   

Two of the county’s three largest local real estate trade associations want a court to order the dissolution of Sandicor Inc., San Diego’s regional multiple listing service, in such a way as to ensure none of the groups can use the listings.

The local MLS, which provides the 19,000-plus members of the three associations with information on available homes for sales, is co-owned by the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors, the North San Diego County Association of Realtors and the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.

It’s the latest salvo in a legal battle between the Pacific Southwest and North San Diego County associations and the Greater San Diego association over access to and use of the listings.

In January, the Greater San Diego association — which has about 12,000 members — sued the Pacific Southwest and North San Diego County associations over access to the listing service, which it said in the complaint was being limited, stifling competition. Sandicor was also named in the lawsuit.

The Pacific Southwest and North San Diego County associations, which have about 2,500 and 5,300 members, respectively, filed a complaint in San Diego Superior Court Oct. 24 to dissolve the MLS, according to a statement from the associations.

“There is internal dissension in Sandicor and two factions of shareholders in Sandicor are so deadlocked that its business can no longer be conducted with advantage to its shareholders,” said the complaint.

Anthony Andaya, 2016 president of the Pacific Southwest association, said were Sandicor dissolved, the Pacific Southwest and North San Diego County associations would provide their members with access to the statewide California Regional Multiple Listing Service.

“A move to an MLS that is controlled by brokers who own the data and endorsed by our state association provides our agents with an enhanced ability to serve the clients,” he said.

That listing service is used by more than 80,000 real estate professionals.

However, on Oct. 25 the Greater San Diego association called the push to dissolve Sandicor “inexplicable.” The legal action will “negatively impact the MLS and further distract and drain its limited resources,” the association said in a statement.

Further, the three groups’ shareholder agreement prevents any such dissolution, according to the statement from the Greater San Diego association.

If the other two groups were to leave Sandicor, “SDAR stands prepared to exercise the buyout provisions of the governing documents and to continue to operate Sandicor for all of the MLS's subscribers,” the statement said, to avoid any interruption.