Introducing the Clear Cooperation Policy

The Hawaii Information Service Board of Directors, under a mandate from the National Association of REALTORS┬« (NAR) and with the guidance of its MLS attorneys, is preparing to approve amendments to its MLS Rules & Regulations to reflect NAR’s “Clear Cooperation Policy.”

These changes, made to address off-market listings and the marketing of them, are being adopted by MLSs across the country. While we will soon distribute and publish our revised rules, effective May 1, 2020, this email will help introduce you to the policy and answer the most common questions.


NAR adopted the Clear Cooperation Policy (also known as MLS Policy Statement 8.0) at its annual meeting in November of last year. The policy requires properties for sale to be listed in the MLS once they are being marketed to the public.

What do these changes mean, in one sentence?

Once a property is being publicly marketed, it must be made available to other members of the MLS within one business day, unless a “certificate to withhold” is signed by the seller.
What qualifies as public marketing?

Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), social media, digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

Does this policy prohibit office exclusives?

No. “Office exclusive” listings are an important option for sellers concerned about privacy and wide exposure of their property being for sale. In an office exclusive listing, direct promotion of the listing between the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage, and one-to-one promotion between these licensees and their clients, is not considered public advertising.

Common examples include divorce situations and celebrity clients. It allows the listing broker to market a property among the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage. If office exclusive listings are displayed or advertised to the general public, however, those listings must also be submitted to the MLS for cooperation.

Does the policy require listings to be submitted to the MLS if they are advertised to a select group of brokers outside the listing broker’s office?

Yes. “Private listing networks” that include more brokers or licensees than those affiliated with the listing brokerage qualify as public advertising under Policy Statement 8.0. Listings shared in multi-brokerage networks by participants must be submitted to the MLS for cooperation.

Does a listing in ‘Preview’ (‘Coming Soon’) status meet the cooperation requirements of the policy?

Yes, as this pre-marketing solution shares listing data with all MLSs participants and subscribers prior to a listing going active. Listings in ‘Preview’ status are exempt from the photo requirement and the 72-hour showing request requirement. However, listings in ‘Preview’ status cannot be publicly marketed, and listings can only be in ‘Preview’ status for 30 days before going ‘Active,’ or they will be automatically withdrawn.

More questions? We have answers!

Even when adopted by the Board of Directors, the Clear Cooperation Policy does not go into effect until May 1, 2020. As we approach that date, we will be providing additional information on the policy itself, our specific rule changes, and how it may affect our valued members. We will also answer your questions, and provide a summary of the answers, in a future bulletin!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns. You can email us at, or just reach out to customer support, and we’ll make sure you receive an answer.