IDX Feed Leads to Lawsuit and Subsequent Dismissal

A story circulated among real estate blogs, video news sites and even the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) Facebook page brings some interesting risk management thoughts to light.  The lawsuit stemmed from a Fair Housing Tester browsing Jeff Launiere’s website and noticed that on an IDX feed, one of the houses said “No children under 16 allowed” – clearly violating Fair Housing laws regarding age discrimination.

The tester reported the finding and Mr. Launiere was among those sued.  The only problem was – it wasn’t his listing.  The IDX feed pulled from the local MLS service and the agent who did write the listing was not sued as part of the lawsuit.  After the matter came to light, the lawsuit against Jeff Launiere was dropped.

As MLS feeds can contain language that is incorrect as well as discriminatory, reminds, and it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your firm.  Insurance that will defend against discrimination allegations, deductibles that are adequate and internal risk management policies are all things to consider.  It is also worth considering deleting comments on an IDX feed, or screening for certain key words.  Contact us to discuss ways to protect your firm.