BOSTON (Legal Newsline) — Massachusetts Attorney General
Maura Healey announced Nov. 14 that the Nantucket Association of Real Estate
Brokers Inc. (NAREB) has agreed to resolve allegations that its current membership
requirements unfairly exclude competitors from the brokerage market.
According to Healey, NAREB’s membership requirements
include the need for a physical office on Nantucket, a potentially pretextual
community involvement requirement, and high initiation fees. Healey’s
office argues that these requirements excluded competitors from joining the
Nantucket real estate brokerage market. The resulting reduction in competition puts
the membership requirements in violation of Massachusetts consumer protection
and antitrust laws.
“Competition is important to our markets and helps to ensure
better results for consumers,” Healey said. “Organizations should not use
membership rules or requirements to limit competitors where there is no basis
to do so.”
The NAREB agreed to allow brokers to enter the market without a
physical office on the island. It will also bring its initiation fee
for new entrants down to $500 from $5,000. The association agreed to a $5,000
penalty for the costs of the case.
Assistant attorney general Matthew Lyons and paralegal Kyle Barr
of Healey’s Antitrust Disvision handled the case.