MLS Listings refuses to remove online photos of my property, despite requests from the real estate agent that took the photos and uploaded them.
Hello. I purchased a home 8/8/2013. The seller's agent had photographed/uploaded 22 interior/exterior photos to MLS Listings. These show up on real estate websites. For example, http://www.redfin.com************************************************* After I bought the house, the Seller's agent (at my request) and also myself asked MLS to delete the photos. MLS refuses. My Buyer's agent says a lot of buyers want MLS to remove the photos but MLS refuses.
Here's two emails I got from MLS. They never answered or returned my calls, and they don't reply to my emails.
****** ******** <*********@mlslistings.com>
to ******, me
We received and reviewed your request to have photos removed from a sold property listing.
We understand your request and we are sensitive to your concerns. The photos of the property were taken when the property was placed in the MLS for sale by the owner of the property at that time, and your possessions do not appear in those photos. Additionally, the MLS exterior photos are not unique; images of nearly all public streets and addresses are readily available on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and MapQuest. The removal from the MLS would not change that nor would it remove them from other Internet locations as the photos are syndicated and displayed by sources and vendors outside of the MLS such. The photos displayed were originated by the listing agent, placed into the MLS, and syndicated to Broker websites for display as directed by both the listing agent and the listing broker. Those were selections made by the listing agent and listing broker with agreements to do so in writing by the seller, not by the MLS, to place the photos which are copyright owned by the listing broker on external websites in addition to inside of the MLS. The MLS does not choose what photos are sent to what locations on the Internet for marketing purposes, those are selected by the listing agents and listing broker who owns the listing and related content.
We keep the historic compilation intact and complete so that buyers, such as yourself can receive the best price in your transaction; and so that when you are the seller, you can best market the home for sale. For this reason, the leadership body of MLSListings has instructed us by policy to leave historic images intact.
You can see the value on preserving this archive as well as that the photos are available on the Internet outside of the MLS's display, distribution, and control for removal.
We will not be removing these photos from the MLS database at this time.
Since you have referred to legal actions going forward, myself as well as the other staff members of MLSListings are not authorized to have any further conversations with you related to this matter and all future correspondences will need to be directed to our legal counsel as coordinated through our CEO.
Chief Operations Officer
***** ******* <********@mlslistings.com>
We can understand your request and we are sensitive to your concerns. However, these photos were the property of the creator and assigned to MLS when they published the listing for sale.
There are many reasons we keep the historic compilation intact and complete. Subscribers to the service (our customers) want and demand that the listing content remain as it was during the listing's on market timeframe. It's likely at least the listing agent used this comparable historical data to help value the property to sell. And photos are now a big part of this record. Comparable sales, new selling prices and other future events are all tied to the listing information. Was there a pool? Type of pool? What was the condition of home/kitchen/bath when it sold or didn't sell You can see the value on preserving this archive. These are reasons among others that we do not remove photos.
I would like MLS Listings to remove photos of ************** from their database. I would also like them to allow any homeowner to easily to remove photos of their property if they so desire. At the very least, they should be allowed to remove interior photos. If one photo must be kept up, it would be the front of the house, and the homeowner should be allowed to blur it, like Google Maps lets you do for privacy concerns. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Dear Mrs. *******:
The removal of data from a multiple listing service, (MLS) is neither arbitrary nor permissible based upon the rules and regulations of our business and the services we provide. The data owned by brokers and the MLS include property photographs, property details and pricing; among other features. As an MLS we are not allowed to remove or alter that data. As a subscriber-based business that is industry regulated, our core responsibility is to serve as a trading platform for real estate professionals by providing accurate data from which real estate transactions are based. The information about sold properties serves as the basis for comparable pricing, appraisals, historical data research and marketplace evaluations.
While we understand the request to remove photos, it is not within our rules to grant that request. Additionally, the depth and breadth of the Internet make it nearly impossible to achieve the complainant's desire for complete removal because real estate photos are copied and syndicated.
We have an obligation to our subscribers which is reflected in our rules and policy.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Are you saying that the subscriber that uploaded the photos is responsible for removing them? WONDERFUL! Because the subscriber in question (the seller's real estate agent who uploaded the photos) tried to take the photos down for me but was not able to. There is nowhere for them to go online and take them out. The seller's real estate agent even contacted you by email to remove the photos, and you responded that you could not. That must have been an error then. Would you like me to contact seller's agent again so they can remove the photos from your listing? Thank you.
Final Business Response
The history in our service is a key asset which is intended to benefit our subscriber base; that includes data and pictures. This information is locked down by our service for future use by our subscribers as they perform CMAs, appraisals, research how to price new listings, and when they are negotiating on behalf of their buyer clients. We are bound by our commitment to our subscribers to provide them a robust service with solid history, and we are regulated by our rules and our policies to keep our content rich and accurate. Based on our rules and policies and our commitment to our subscribers, we do not remove listing content from our historical records, including tax record data, photos, remarks, and other historical data on our comparable database.
We are trying to make clear to Mrs. ******* that we have no ability to make the desired change. We understand the frustration, but this is not within our authority. The removal of data from a multiple listing service, (MLS) is neither arbitrary nor permissible based upon the rules and regulations of our business and the services we provide. The data owned by brokers and the MLS include property photographs, property details and pricing; among other features. As an MLS we are not allowed to remove or alter that data.
With Best Regards,
Myra ******** Vice President of Public Affairs